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Hernandez a hit in first at-bat back

Garcia makes spring debut; Rodriguez's defense impresses Arrieta
March 14, 2019

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Cesar Hernandez went 1-for-3 in his return to the lineup after missing two weeks with a strained left hip flexor. Hernandez, who played in a Minor League game Wednesday, said he expects to be ready for the start of the season. “Oh yeah, for sure,” Hernandez said.

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Cesar Hernandez went 1-for-3 in his return to the lineup after missing two weeks with a strained left hip flexor.

Hernandez, who played in a Minor League game Wednesday, said he expects to be ready for the start of the season.

“Oh yeah, for sure,” Hernandez said. “I feel great, happy to get back. My finger, my leg is good, so that’s definitely good. I was a little bit lost at the plate. I am trying to get my timing back. I need a couple more games to get to that point.”

Manager Gabe Kapler said he felt like the second baseman hadn’t missed a beat after playing four innings in the field in an 11-2 loss against the Pirates.

“I thought he looked like Cesar really, maybe a version of Cesar that just needs to get his timing and rhythm down, but overall just fine,” Kapler said. “Came out of the game healthy.”

Hernandez said he has been working with new shortstop Jean Segura for much of the spring to get their timing down defensively. He also wants to take advantage of Segura’s offensive prowess by being on base as much as possible.

“Yeah that’s what I want, I want to score 100-plus runs,” Hernandez added.

Although Kapler said he wants to be flexible with his lineup, it’s likely that Hernandez, with his ability to get on base, will spend most of his time at the leadoff position. He batted leadoff Thursday, but said he’s not opposed to moving around in the lineup.

“I like leadoff,” Hernandez said. “But wherever they put me at the lineup I’m going to be happy.”

Rordriguez shows some glove

Sean Rodriguez made some flashy defensive plays on Thursday, including a diving snag on a line drive by Josh Bell to rob the Pirates’ first baseman of an extra-base hit.

Rodriguez’s efforts got the attention of Thursday’s starter Jake Arrieta.

“Yeah, I mean, a couple of those might have been hits,” Arrieta said. “He made four or five really nice plays in four innings; saved some damage. But I’ve just got to make better pitches and be a little bit more precise, especially in hitter’s counts. I didn’t do a very good job of that.”

Garcia gets time

Shortstop Luis Garcia, Philadelphia's No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, saw his first spring action when he entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning to replace Segura at shortstop.

Garcia, 18, had a quiet game and struck out on three pitches in his only at-bat but it was still an exciting moment for him.

“It was very special just to be alongside with some Major League players,” Garcia said through an interpreter. “It felt good.”

Kapler said it was a meaningful moment in the shortstop's young career.

“Obviously the result of the at-bat wasn’t what he wanted, but you saw the dig-in and you saw the grit,” Kapler said. “And before the game, we saw a fluid, athletic, gifted shortstop in pregame work with a pretty good stroke.”

Injury update

Kapler said that Odubel Herrera came out of his Thursday workout healthy as he continues to recover from a left hamstring strain that has kept him out all spring. Herrera played in a Minor League game Wednesday and is scheduled to make his spring debut Saturday against the Astros as the designated hitter. If healthy, Herrera would figure to be the Phillies' Opening Day center fielder.

Up next

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will make his third appearance and first start this spring when the Phillies host the Blue Jays on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET in Clearwater, Fla.