CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies need another outfielder, don't they?Aaron Altherr will not return from left wrist surgery until July at the earliest, and Cody Asche could miss the beginning of the season because of a strained right oblique. Their injuries leave Odubel Herrera, Peter Bourjos and Rule 5 Draft
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies need another outfielder, don't they?
Aaron Altherr will not return from left wrist surgery until July at the earliest, and Cody Asche could miss the beginning of the season because of a strained right oblique. Their injuries leave Odubel Herrera, Peter Bourjos and Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Goeddel as the projected Opening Day outfield with some combination of Darnell Sweeney and non-roster invitees David Lough and Cedric Hunter as their fourth and fifth outfielders.
But general manager Matt Klentak said Friday afternoon at Bright House Field that the Phillies are not aggressively pursuing outfield help.
"We've got our ears open for opportunities, but I wouldn't characterize it as active," Klentak said. "This is the time of the year where most teams are starting to connect with each other to talk about different scenarios that are going to play out at the end of camp -- who is going to make the team, who may not. So those conversations have begun -- generally, anyway."
So even if the Phillies are not frantically calling clubs for help, they have talked to teams about it and are watching the waiver wire. The Phillies have priority on the waiver wire through the end of April, so they could pick up somebody in the next couple of weeks.
"I wouldn't say it's any more likely than it would be at any other position," Klentak said about an outfield acquisition. "But with Altherr obviously being out for an extended stretch, and with Asche not on the field, if there's a way for us to add depth, I think it's something we'll have to explore."
Klentak said it is possible Asche could be ready by Opening Day, despite the fact that he has not played in a Grapefruit League game. But because of the nature of Asche's injury, the team also knows it must be careful with him.
Herrera has not played since Saturday because of an injured right middle finger. He had X-rays recently, but they were negative. The Phillies said they do not think it is serious. Bourjos, who has a .645 OPS the previous four seasons, entered Friday hitting .333 (9-for-27) with three doubles, one triple, one RBI, three walks and eight strikeouts. Goeddel, who has not played higher than Double-A, had hit .250 (9-for-36) with two doubles, one home run, five RBIs, four walks and nine strikeouts.
Goeddel's play the rest of the month could factor into the Phillies' sense of urgency in finding outfield help. Herrera made the adjustment from Rule 5 pick to everyday outfielder last season. Can the Phillies expect Goeddel to make the same adjustments and play on an everyday basis?
"[Goeddel] hasn't shown us anything that would suggest he can't do that," Klentak said. "We've been encouraged with, not even the results so much of his ABs, but sort of the way he's gone about it. He's got a very mature approach in the batter's box. I think that's something as we're projecting how he'll do in the big leagues this year; that's something that gives us some comfort. We think he can compete. He knows how to work a count. He's not afraid to hit the ball the other way. In fact, he often tends to hit the ball the other way. I think that lends itself to him having an easier adjustment. But we'll see."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.