Herrera's status (oblique) puts CF plan in question
Phils avoid arbitration with Hoskins, Alvarado
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Odúbel Herrera is behind schedule, which is putting a wrinkle into the Phillies’ center-field plans.
Herrera is experiencing soreness in his right oblique, which surfaced after swinging the bat recently. He said Tuesday morning at BayCare Ballpark that he is feeling better, but he has not improved enough to the club's liking. He will receive an MRI exam to give the Phillies a better idea about how much time he might need to recover. Manager Joe Girardi said the injury puts Herrera behind schedule for Opening Day on April 8, although securing his spot on the roster remains in play.
It puts Matt Vierling in the driver’s seat for the job in center. But the options are few behind Vierling, if Herrera is sidelined.
First, Bryce Harper will not play center field, Girardi said. Harper has played there in the past, but center puts more strain on Harper and his back.
So, no, it will not happen.
Adam Haseley will get a look. He has made 62 of his 89 big league starts in center field. Haseley, selected by the Phillies with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, left the Phillies for personal reasons in April. He rejoined the organization a month later, but he spent the rest of the season in the Minor Leagues.
Fellow outfielder Mickey Moniak is not an option in center field, Girardi said.
“That’s not something we’ve brought up,” Girardi said.
Moniak, the first overall pick in the 2016 Draft, is relegated to the corners, which boxes him in with Harper (13-year, $330 million contract), Nick Castellanos (a reported five-year, $100 million contract) and Kyle Schwarber (four-year, $79 million contract) all locked up through at least 2025.
The only other center fielder on the 40-man roster is Símon Muzziotti, but he has only 83 plate appearances in the Phillies’ system since 2019.
“I really believe that Vierling had a chance to take this and run with this,” Girardi said. “So he's going to get a chance. You'll see Haseley out there more. We'll see what happens.”
Hoskins, Alvarado reach deals; Eflin does not
Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins and the Phillies agreed on Tuesday to a one-year, $7.7 million contract, avoiding salary arbitration. Left-hander Jose Alvarado agreed to a $1.9 million deal, also avoiding arbitration.
Right-hander Zach Eflin and the Phillies did not reach an agreement on a deal. They exchanged salary figures and could be headed to a hearing.
The Phillies have also agreed to terms with all of their remaining pre-arbitration eligible players on one-year contracts.
Seranthony dazzles in spring debut
This is not the Seranthony Domínguez that Girardi watched pitch one inning in the final game of the 2021 season.
“This is probably more like the guy you saw in 2018 and ’19,” he said after Tuesday’s 7-2 victory over the Tigers.
Domínguez struck out the side in an impressive 14-pitch effort in the fourth inning in his Grapefruit League debut. He struck out Tigers prospect Spencer Torkelson swinging on a 0-2 slider. He struck out Harold Castro swinging on a 1-2 fastball that registered at 97.3 mph. Daz Cameron struck out looking on a 1-2 slider.
In between, Domínguez got a few more awkward swings. His fastball averaged 96.2 mph.
Domínguez came into camp 30 pounds lighter than he finished last season, believing he needed to get into better shape. He said it has helped. And while he said he never looked at the radar gun on Tuesday, he heard about it. He acknowledged that he wondered if he would ever throw hard again following Tommy John surgery in 2020.
“I was worried because I want to be the guy that I was before,” he said. “I know the velo isn’t everything, but I like it. I love it. The most important thing is being consistent and making quality pitches. But I like velo, too. I’m not going to lie.”
And if Domínguez is the guy that he was before?
“That’s a huge piece,” Girardi said.