Matt Klentak

Freddy Galvis not in Phillies' starting lineup for 1st time in 2017

Freddy Galvis not in Phillies' starting lineup for 1st time in 2017

WASHINGTON — After starting all 140 of the Phillies' previous games this season, shortstop Freddy Galvis was out of the lineup Friday night.

Galvis sat to accommodate rookie J.P. Crawford. The Phillies’ brass wants to evaluate Crawford's readiness for a possible role in April. Crawford played the previous three games at third base. He is expected to play second base on Saturday night with Galvis returning to shortstop.

Galvis' goal of starting all 162 games is dead.

Difficult?

"A little bit," Galvis said. "But it's baseball. You have to understand baseball. It's September. You know what's going on. I just try to play hard and do my best."

Manager Pete Mackanin had hoped to accommodate Galvis' desire to start all 162 games and also get a look at Crawford at shortstop five or six times this month. Mackanin's plan was to use Galvis in the outfield when Crawford played shortstop. Galvis played a game in center field during the Phillies' last homestand, but came down with a bit of a sore arm afterward.

"My arm didn't feel too good," he said. "I'll stay at shortstop now until the end of the season."

Mackanin said he would try to get Galvis into every game by using him as a pinch hitter.

"I think I can do that," Mackanin said.

Mackanin added, "I'd like to see Freddy win the Gold Glove this year. I think he deserves it. I thought he deserved it last year."

San Francisco's Brandon Crawford won the NL Gold Glove at shortstop the last two seasons.

It's not every day that a 27-year-old, Gold Glove-caliber shortstop is not considered a team's shortstop of the future. But this is where the Phillies are at the moment. Though gifted defensively, Galvis does not have the on-base skills that this Phillies front office yearns for. His career on-base percentage is just .286. Crawford has a career on-base mark of .368 in the minors. Phillies officials have not closed the door on Galvis, but they want to see if Crawford can be the guy at the position next season. If they believe he can be, the Phils are expected to shop Galvis for a trade. If not, Galvis will be the guy again next season, his last before free agency.

General manager Matt Klentak has many decisions to make in the infield this winter. Rhys Hoskins is expected to play first base next season with Tommy Joseph going on the trading block. Both Galvis and second baseman Cesar Hernandez could be shopped. (The Phils have a second baseman coming in Scott Kingery. He could arrive a month or so into the 2018 season.) The Phils would listen to offers for third baseman Maikel Franco, though his value is down after a poor season. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Crawford could play third next season. There are a lot of ways the Phils could go.

"There’s been a lot of speculation about our infield and how do you make room for all these players," Klentak said. "That’s something we’re continuing to gather information on right now to help us make that decision. It’s something I’m sure we’ll field plenty of [trade] inquiries throughout the offseason. We’ll just have to see where that takes us. It’s certainly not the end of the world to go into next year with all of these infielders we currently have in the organization. We can make that work. But if there’s an opportunity to utilize that depth to help us in other areas, then we’ll consider that as well."

Klentak added that it was too early to say where Crawford would play in the future, though it sounds like he will be the guy at short.

"It's four days into his major-league career," Klentak said. "I don't want to project too much on his positional future. But I think we've seen enough over the course of his minor-league career to know he's a major-league shortstop. He can play defense at the major-league level. We've seen over the last couple of weeks in the minor leagues and the first few days in the big leagues, he's got pretty good instincts at third base, too. The fact that we have a talented young player that can play multiple spots, it opens a lot of doors for us.

"There's no one way to win a game or to build a winning team. If we have more players that can do more things, that should bode well for the organization."

With J.P. Crawford looming at SS, Freddy Galvis gets look in outfield

With J.P. Crawford looming at SS, Freddy Galvis gets look in outfield

Back in early July, Freddy Galvis and his wife, Ana, welcomed their second daughter into the world. Little Nicole arrived at 5 o'clock in the morning. Her dad eschewed his right to take paternity leave and was at shortstop for the Phillies that night. Hit a home run, in fact.

In explaining his decision to come to work that day to manager Pete Mackanin, Galvis said everything was good at home and he wanted to come to work because he had a responsibility to his team and a personal goal to play in all 162 of the Phillies’ games.

In relaying that story, Mackanin praised Galvis' leadership and character and said he would do everything in his power to see that Galvis' goal of answering the bell for 162 games became a reality.

Recently, however, Galvis' desire to play all 162 games has caused Mackanin a little handwringing. Highly touted shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford is due to come up from the minors for a September look on Tuesday and it makes sense that the Phillies’ front office would like to see him some at shortstop, in addition to third base, a position he recently started learning.

But where does that leave Galvis and his bid to play 162?

Mackanin answered that question when he filled out the lineup card for the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader against Atlanta.

Galvis was in center field (see Game 2 observations).

It was a startling move not only because Galvis had never played the position (other than a brief look in spring training 2013), but also because he was a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop last season and will be in the running for the award this season.

Clearly, Mackanin — and the front office — are trying to rig a way where Galvis can achieve his goal and play 162 games while getting an occasional look at Crawford at shortstop.

"Well, it might," Mackanin said when asked if playing Galvis in the outfield had anything to do with Crawford.

"Actually, I didn't tell Freddy he would play every day at short. He asked me if he could play every day. I said yes. Now, if I said that, that wasn't my intent. I told him that I was going to try and get him to play every day."

Galvis played 10 games in left field in 2013. He met with Mackanin and GM Matt Klentak about the matter on Tuesday and said all the right things after playing center field on Wednesday.

"I think it's good," he said. "I just want to help the team win. And I’m going to try to do my best every single time. It doesn’t matter where they put me, I’m going to play hard and try to win that day.

"I think September is a time where they see a lot of new players, a lot of young players. That was the conversation. Try to be available to do that and that’s why I’m playing center field a little bit right now. But I’m good, man. Like I said, I just want to win. I just want to have the best team here in Philadelphia. I’m just trying to do something good."

Moving players around in order to get them big-league reps has been commonplace with the Phillies this season. Rhys Hoskins, a natural first baseman, has been playing left field so he can get at-bats. Crawford is learning to play third base in preparation for his ascension.

Mackanin said there would be more of it. He said second baseman Cesar Hernandez could get time at shortstop over the final month of the season and third baseman Maikel Franco could get time at first. While moving Galvis around a little bit in order to evaluate Crawford makes some sense, moving Hernandez and Franco to positions where the Phils already have players that need reps — Hoskins and Tommy Joseph at first and Galvis and Crawford at shortstop — makes little sense. Talking about those as potential moves might just be subterfuge to deflect attention away from how the Galvis-Crawford situation will play out.

However it plays out, Galvis is not expected to play a ton of center field. After all, Odubel Herrera is due to come off the disabled list Friday.

Galvis, to his credit, continued to defuse a potentially combustible matter.

"Let's let Pete decide what we're going to do," he said.

Galvis will be eligible for salary arbitration for the final time this winter. He will be eligible for free agency after next season. He could be shopped for a trade this winter if the Phillies believe Crawford is ready to take over the position in April. Or he could hang around for a while.

Asked about his future, Galvis said, "I don't know. I'm not God. I will take it day by day and see what happens."

All we know right now is there is a plan in place for him to reach his goal and play in 162 games. It just involves an occasional detour to the outfield.

Vince Velasquez done for season with blood flow issue — and other Phillies pitching matters

Vince Velasquez done for season with blood flow issue — and other Phillies pitching matters

A busy day for the Phillies on Tuesday — a doubleheader against the Marlins, preceded by a series of pitching moves

Roll call:

Right-hander Vince Velasquez was placed on the 60-day disabled list after tests revealed a blood flow issue in his pitching arm that has caused numbness and bruising in his right middle finger. He will have a surgical procedure this week and is expected to make a full recovery in time for spring training.

Right-hander Zach Eflin was placed on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder soreness.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta was added from Triple A as the 26th man for the doubleheader. He will start the nightcap (see game notes).

Right-handed reliever Yacksel Rios was brought up from Triple A to help in the bullpen.

Right-hander Mark Leiter Jr., who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen, is back in the rotation and will start on Wednesday.

And finally, right-hander Jake Thompson is expected to come up from Triple A to pitch on Thursday, allowing Jerad Eickhoff, whose fastball velocity has been down a tick, an extra day between starts.

The big news here is Velasquez and his condition. The hard-throwing pitcher came to the Phillies in general manager Matt Klentak's first significant trade and was pegged as a staff building block. However, his two seasons with the Phillies have been plagued by inconsistency and injury. He missed time last year with a biceps strain and again this season with an elbow strain before exiting his start on Aug. 10 with numbness in his right middle finger.

According to Klentak, the discomfort is caused by an issue in the area of Velasquez' armpit, and the pitcher will have a "small procedure that will alleviate the issue," and allow "the blood flow to be normal again to his fingers."

Velasquez, 25, does not have thoracic outlet syndrome, a problem that has affected some pitchers.

The recuperation time for Velasquez will be six to eight weeks and he will continue to work as a starting pitcher in spring training.

"We do still think that Vince possesses all the ingredients to be a top-notch major league starter," Klentak said. "We have to see how the rest of the organization aligns around him. We’ll see what the offseason brings us as far as additional acquisitions are concerned but the hope would be that Vince would still be a starter.

"Every time he pitches we see that big fastball that generates swings and misses at an elite rate particularly when it’s up in the zone. As long as we keep seeing that, we know this guy can be an impact major league pitcher. He’s had his fair share of setbacks throughout the year and throughout his professional career, but we still believe really strongly in his future."

Eflin exited his last start with discomfort behind his right shoulder. It is his second trip to the DL this season. He missed time earlier with an elbow issue. As ominous as two trips to the DL with arm problems sounds, the Phils don't sound overly concerned.

"He’s feeling better every day," Klentak said. "We’re hoping that this will be a minimal DL stint."

Klentak emphasized that Eickhoff is healthy, despite the drop in velocity.

"Definitely healthy and he’s learning to mix pitches and change speeds," Klentak said. "Eickhoff, even throwing a few miles an hour less, when he’s locating and changing speeds is still very effective. So that’s what he’s learning right now."

Klentak said Eickhoff's extra day between starts had nothing to do with health or workload.

"It had a lot to do with coming out of a doubleheader and where we would slot Thompson in," he said. "Thompson’s day is actually (Wednesday) and rather than pushing him back two, or pushing him to Friday, we want to push him back one and push Eick back one. It was kind of cleaner that way."