Yankees 5, Phillies 0: Situational hitting still a problem; Garcia shows off splitter

Yankees 5, Phillies 0: Situational hitting still a problem; Garcia shows off splitter

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies had eight walks, nine base hits and put runners on base every inning against the Yankees on Friday afternoon.

They just failed to score.

Rhys Hoskins and Tommy Joseph both went 2 for 2, but situational hitting remains a problem in the first half of spring.

"Hoskins swung the bat well, he looks like a heck of a hitter," manager Pete Mackanin said, "and Joseph is starting to get going, good to see that as well.

"Other than that, not much to talk about."

The Phillies left 16 runners on base and allowed a three-run homer to Chase Headley in the first inning off starter Clay Buchholz as the Yankees won, 5-0, to drop the Phillies to 6-7-2 in the Grapefruit League.

"We had bases loaded three times and couldn't capitalize, it was one of those days," Mackanin said. "We might have used up all our runs in Lakeland [against the Tigers] the other day. Little by little, we're getting there."

Mackanin isn't ready to panic, nor should he, as many of the regulars are just beginning to get their at-bats and every player has a different approach to what they want to do during the spring. 

"When guys have 20, 25 at-bats it's hard to tell," Mackanin said. "Some guys are hot, some guys aren't. It takes time for some guys. It's a matter of putting something together. We swung the bats extremely well in Lakeland the other day and we've had other games where we swung the bat well. We're taking walks but we're also striking out too much."

The Phillies struck out eight times.

Garcia shows his splitter
Luis Garcia had his third consecutive scoreless outing of the spring and pitched a perfect 1 2/3 innings of relief. 

Mackanin said he was encouraged by Garcia going nearly two innings and the primary pitch that he used -- a split-finger fastball.

"He's started fiddling around with a split fastball, and I don't know if (Joaquin) Benoit has been talking to him about that, but he threw some really good splitters today, and if he can command that pitch pretty well he could be very effective," Mackanin said. "He might have reinvented himself. Last year, we forced (Hector) Neris to throw a lot of splits, and it seemed to light a fire under him and helped him take off and pitch so well. I'm hoping the same thing for Luis."

Mackanin said Garcia is one of the guys that is on the bubble, but he's eager to see what he can do for the rest of the spring and if he can provide multiple innings out of the bullpen.

Garcia has given up no runs and just one hit in his last three spring appearances.

"Our bullpen is pretty established, but the one thing we need to make sure we have to have is some length, so it was good to see Luis throw two innings," Mackanin said. "Length is going to be important, especially early in the season."

Up next
Right-hander Vince Velasquez will start against Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada in Dunedin at 1:07 p.m. on Saturday.

"The big thing with Vince is I want to see him throw strikes and have control of his pitches," Mackanin said. "It's important to get him throwing strikes and being in command of what he's doing on the mound."

Yankees 3, Phillies 2: Jeremy Hellickson shines; big roster meeting on deck

Yankees 3, Phillies 2: Jeremy Hellickson shines; big roster meeting on deck

BOX SCORE

TAMPA, Fla. -- With his second straight opening day start coming into focus, Jeremy Hellickson delivered his best outing of the spring on Friday.

The right-hander, two weeks shy of his 30th birthday, held the New York Yankees to five hits and a run over 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Hellickson was remarkably economical with his pitches, throwing just 75.

"I'll take that any time," he said.

So would Pete Mackanin.

"He was great," the manager said.

Hellickson will have one more tune-up -- Wednesday -- before his opening day start April 3 in Cincinnati.

"I'm ready," he said.

And that about says it all.

The game
The Phillies lost, 3-2, when reliever Michael Mariot gave up three hits and two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Tommy Joseph had a pair of hits, including the Phils' only extra-base hit, a double.

Freddy Galvis made a couple of nice plays in the field.

"He just shines out there," Mackanin said.

Joseph, the Phillies' first baseman, was involved in a humorous play in the fifth inning. Hellickson made a pickoff attempt on Aaron Hicks at first base. Hicks dived back toward the base but seemed to get stuck in the infield dirt and came up about a foot short of the bag. Joseph, sensing Hicks would easily beat the throw, didn't immediately notice that Hicks was grounded short of the bag and by the time he did, Hicks was able to scurry to the bag.

As fate would have it, the next two batters hit tough ground balls to Joseph's right and he made close plays at second both times. He fired what looked like a 90 mph fastball at shortstop Galvis on the first one. Galvis even seemed shocked how quickly the ball got on him.

"We laughed about the pickoff play," Hellickson said. "But he made two really good plays after that. I told him he totally redeemed himself. That was funny, though."

Saunders OK
Michael Saunders was hit on the right hand by a pitch in the fifth inning. He left the game for precautionary reasons, but was fine. Just a bruise.

"Glancing blow," Mackanin said.

Roster ruminations
The Phillies leave Florida in a week. They have thinned their roster several times and did so again on Friday, optioning pitcher Jake Thompson and outfielder Tyler Goeddel to the minors and reassigning three others (see story).

An even clearer picture of the roster will begin to emerge Sunday as several non-roster players can opt out of their contracts if they are not added to the 40-man roster. That list includes catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday, reliever Sean Burnett and outfielder Chris Coghlan.

Mackanin said the team would have a personnel meeting on Sunday.

"By Monday we should have some more news," he said.

Still unsettled are the bench and bullpen. Typically the team would have five men on the bench and seven in the bullpen, but Mackanin said the possibility of a four-man bench and an eight-man bullpen would be discussed.

"I don't want to do that, especially in the National League, but we're talking about it," he said.

The Phillies have a tight 40-man roster, and that could help Andrew Knapp's chances of making the club as a backup catcher/first baseman. He is already on the 40-man roster. Even if Knapp makes it, the Phils could bring along Hanigan or Holaday as a third catcher.

"That's a possibility," Mackanin said. "We discussed it at the last meeting. We're going to discuss it again on Sunday.

"We're trying to come up with the best plan for when we break, and a lot of it has to do with the non-roster players. If we make a move, someone has to come off (the 40-man roster) and that's an issue."

Up next
The Phillies travel to Fort Myers on Saturday to play the Red Sox. The game shapes up as another audition for a spot in the Phillies' bullpen as Alec Asher, Adam Morgan and Joely Rodriguez are the scheduled pitchers.

Phillies trim roster, send Tyler Goeddel, Jake Thompson to minors

Phillies trim roster, send Tyler Goeddel, Jake Thompson to minors

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- With a week to go before they leave Florida, the Phillies made several roster moves on Friday morning.

Outfielder Tyler Goeddel, who spent all of last season in the majors, was optioned to the minor leagues.

Pitcher Jake Thompson, who made 10 starts in the majors for the Phillies last season, was also optioned to the minors. He is expected to open the season in the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Goeddel, 24, joined the Phillies organization in December 2015 after being selected in the Rule 5 draft. He had originally been a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011.

Players selected in the Rule 5 draft must spend an entire season in the majors or be exposed to waivers and offered back to their original club. The Phillies kept Goeddel all of last season, fully securing his rights, but he received only 213 at-bats and hit just .192 with four homers and 16 RBIs.

The news on Goeddel was not completely surprising. The wintertime additions of outfielders Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders had made Goeddel a long shot to make the team.

"I knew going into camp I was going to have to earn my spot," he said. "There's a lot of guys in here that have been playing well. Whatever happened, happened."

Goeddel needs to recoup some at-bats in the minor leagues. The question is: where? The Phillies have three top outfield prospects -- Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens -- who will require regular playing time at Triple-A. It's possible that Goeddel could open the season at Double-A.

Team officials discussed that possibility with him.

"They want me to get more at-bats," Goeddel said. "That's the main thing. Only getting 200 in your age-23 season is not enough.

"They said there's a chance I'm at Reading. I'm not too happy about that but you can't control it. That's where their most openings are and most consistent playing time.

"I want to play every day. It was tough last year playing sparingly. Getting at-bats is going to be great. Obviously, I wish it was up here. But at the end of the day, you can't control it."

Goeddel is still on the 40-man roster and as long as he stays on it can come back to the majors quite easily if a need arises.

"They said that," Goeddel said. "Last year (pitcher Alec) Asher started at Double-A and was called up. They said that in there. They just want me to get at-bats. That was their main thing."

Thompson could be one of the first to return to the majors if a need arises in the starting rotation.

The 23-year-old right-hander was one of five prospects that the Phillies acquired from Texas for Cole Hamels in July 2015. He went 11-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 21 starts at Triple-A last season and 3-6 with a 5.70 ERA with the big club.

The Phils also reassigned pitcher Dalier Hinojosa, catcher Logan Moore and infielder Hector Gomez to minor-league camp.