CLEARWATER, Fla. -- If Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd threw intentionally at Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera in the fifth inning Thursday at Spectrum Field, he missed twice."I'm too quick for that," Herrera joked following a 6-2 loss.But it started a series of head-scratching ejections by home-plate umpire Tom Hallion, which
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- If Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd threw intentionally at Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera in the fifth inning Thursday at Spectrum Field, he missed twice.
"I'm too quick for that," Herrera joked following a 6-2 loss.
But it started a series of head-scratching ejections by home-plate umpire Tom Hallion, which included Boyd, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, Phillies bench coach Rob Thomson, a Phillies reliever fighting for a bullpen job and a journeyman Minor Leaguer the Phillies sent to camp as an extra arm.
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Herrera stepped out of the batter's box as Boyd let a pitch fly over his head in the fifth. A 3-1 fastball then came inside to Herrera. Herrera said the pitch missed him, but Hallion thought it came too close and it was recorded as a HBP. He ejected Boyd, who laughed in disbelief.
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was not amused.
"It was crazy," he said. "I guess once the precedent was decided that he thought we threw intentionally at him, I guess he decided he had to set the tone."
Parker Frazier has spent 11 seasons in the Minor Leagues. He got the opportunity to pitch for the Phillies. He pitched a scoreless seventh before hitting Derek Hill in the leg with an 82-mph slider. Hallion ejected him and Kapler because warnings had already been issued.
"[First baseman] Adam Rosales was like, 'Oh well, that stinks,'" Frazier said. "I was like, 'Yeah. I guess I'll just walk off now.' My fiancée and in-laws were in town [from Oklahoma], so it was the first time they got to see me pitch. They texted me, 'What happened?' I told them accidental hit pitch. They had never seen me play professional baseball before because I was injured last year."
Pedro Beato, who is trying to win a bullpen job, hit Dylan Rosa with a pitch in the ninth, and both he and Thomson were tossed.
"I just point to the fact that we had a young Minor Leaguer in the game and he's just trying to make a good impression," Kapler said. "Threw a slider that backed up and hit somebody. Beato is also trying to make a club and make the best possible impression. He has no reason to do anything but throw strikes. Balls are going to get away from guys."
Herrera thought he was thrown at intentionally. Boyd denied it. Kapler declined to say if he thought Boyd's pitches were intentional.
"Basically, my job is to be thinking about the health and well-being of our players," he said. "Odubel is one of the guys that we really want to see do well this season. That's about all I can say about it."
The team announced Thursday it had granted infielder Ryan Flaherty his unconditional release. Flaherty had an opt-out clause in his contract in which he could ask for his release if the Phillies had not placed him on the roster by Thursday. The Phillies then had 48 hours to decide.
The move leaves Jesmuel Valentin, Pedro Florimon, Roman Quinn and Rosales competing for two, possibly three, bench jobs.
The Phillies are expected to have a four-man bench but could carry an extra player until they need a fifth starter April 11. The first two bench jobs are filled by the backup catcher, which is expected to be Andrew Knapp, and a fourth outfielder.
Right-hander Zach Eflin allowed three hits, two runs and one walk in just two-thirds of an inning. He has a 5.79 ERA in 14 innings this spring.
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Eflin, Ben Lively (2.84 ERA in 19 innings) and non-roster invitee Andrew Hutchison (3.45 ERA in 15 2/3 innings) remain in the mix to start while Jerad Eickhoff and Mark Leiter open the season on the disabled list. Hutchison can exercise the opt-out clause in his contract Friday if he has not been placed on the roster. If he opts out, the Phillies have 48 hours to add him.
"I think all three of those guys, we're thinking about them as Major League pieces," Kapler said. "Not quite sure how they fit in, a piggyback option, a long man, a fifth spot in the rotation, all those things are things we're playing out."
Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (1-1, 4.50 ERA) will make his final start of the spring Friday afternoon in a Grapefruit League game against the Pirates in a game that will be broadcast live on MLB.TV and aired via exclusive audio webcast at phillies.com. Nola next will start Opening Day on March 29 in Atlanta.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.