It was a good weekend for us watching Phillies spring training baseball. Some of the guys we have followed since their Gulf Coast League days came up big and a couple of our friends from last year’s Clearwater Threshers team are back in town.
‘Mr. Strikeout’, Jose Taveras, finally found his K pitch. He struck out three in only 1.2 innings in relief Saturday against the Orioles. Jose led all Phillies minor league pitchers in strikeouts the last two seasons. He likely will start the season with Lehigh Valley.
Catcher Deivi Grullon made his debut with the Phillies as pinch hitter in the same game and lined a rbi double to the wall in left. Watch HERE. He likely will start out with Reading.
On Sunday against the Blue Jays, Seranthony Dominguez pitched out of a tight jam in the eight inning in relief of Jake Thompson and went on to get his first win in a Phillies uniform. Watch HERE. He now has pitched four innings in four appearances in spring training game and has yet to be charged with an earned run. He looks to close for Reading at least to start the season.
Earlier on Sunday we watched the minor league teams workout at the Carpenter Complex. It was good to see some of our friends though in different roles: Last year’s Clearwater reliever Matt Hockenberry is now a pitching coach and Clearwater’s first baseman from last season, Wilson Garcia, is now back catching and looks ready to go.
I am a big fan of Willy. He finished strong as first baseman with the Threshers hitting .351 over his final ten games and hit .343 (.902 OPS) in August of last season. But more importantly, he can hit the ball long and far as a left-handed bat. Though a switch-hitter, he hit all of his 13 home runs last season left-handed. That tied him for second most, with Cornelius Randolph, among all left-handed bats in the Florida State League. There are not too many left-handed hitting catchers around and last season he caught only one game.
On the other hand nothing seems to change with first baseman Darick Hall. The left-handed power bat led the Sally league in home runs in 2017. He hit three home runs in the first week of spring training last season. He put on show in batting practice on Sunday going deep to right field even into the teeth of the wind on Carlton Field. Watch HERE.
All the boys are now “back in town”. The first series of minor league spring games begin next Tuesday, March 13, against the teams of the Blue Jays organization. So let’s get this party started!