Phillies add utility man Pirela from Padres

Manager Kapler cites big-game experience as reason for excitement

July 27th, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies believe they will be playing meaningful games in September, but they also say they will be making more marginal trades than headline-grabbing ones before Wednesday’s Trade Deadline.

They made one of those minor moves Saturday. Philadelphia sent cash to the Padres for utility player , who has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He slashed .258/.307/.390 in 966 plate appearances over parts of six seasons with the Yankees and Padres. He has spent most of his career at second base and left field, although he has played first base, third base and right field.

“We want those guys that come up and contribute to be experienced with big at-bats,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “And he had them both with the Yankees and with the Padres and has had some success.

“He can play the corners, in the outfield, can play second base, a good baserunner, definitely a good teammate. And we know that -- we've learned this -- any acquisition we bring in we'd like to have some pretty good teammate behavior. There was some good work done on him. A native Spanish speaker and a guy that will get along with his teammates. So excited across the board on having Pirela with us.”

It sounds like Pirela will remain in Triple-A until rosters expand Sept. 1, although that is always subject to change.

“It makes us a deeper club,” Kapler said. “So, the idea that guys that come up and take up at-bats for us, whether that be in August or September, are Major Leaguers, right? And this was one that has really sparked the mood of the clubhouse in a good way.”

Flashback Friday
Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta has pitched fewer than six innings in four starts this month. He is averaging fewer than six innings per start this season. Arrieta allowed four runs in the fifth inning in Friday’s 9-2 loss to the Braves. He said he lost his velocity and command in the inning, which unraveled quickly.

Can the Phillies count on Arrieta to pitch deep in games, considering he is pitching with a bone spur?

“I don't feel 1,000 percent confident that he is not going to go out there and have an outing where he goes six and lasts a little longer,” Kapler said. “But it doesn't mean we don't have to be responsible with somebody ready to roll behind him. I think the answer is we can probably have somebody at the ready.”

Kapler reiterated that the team made the correct move pitching left-hander Cole Irvin in the sixth inning with the Phillies down four runs. Irvin has a 7.36 ERA in eight appearances this season. Kapler cited Irvin’s scoreless appearance July 19 against the Pirates and a new arm slot as reasons to be optimistic that Irvin would fare well. Irvin allowed four runs in the sixth to hand the Braves an eight-run lead.

It sounded like a relief to the Braves.

"I'm not comfortable against [the Phillies] with a 5-1 lead because they're so powerful and potent and, like they did in the fifth inning, they can grind at-bats, have long at-bats, and I think this is one of those parks where you're never out of it,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Something happens with a walk, an error, a bloop, next thing you know there's two or three runs on the board. I kind of look at a five-run lead as almost a save for the bullpen because things can get away from you in a hurry here."

Robertson still in limbo
Right-hander David Robertson has been on the injured list since April because of a sore right elbow. He has been throwing off the mound, but it is unclear if or when he will begin a rehab assignment.

“He's progressing,” Kapler said. “He's just still not progressing as fast as we all had hoped he would."