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Phillies designate veteran Rupp for assignment

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cameron Rupp lived through the most grueling seasons of the Phillies' rebuild. He hoped to be part of the good times, too.

But if Philadelphia returns to the postseason this season or beyond, he is unlikely to be part of it.

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cameron Rupp lived through the most grueling seasons of the Phillies' rebuild. He hoped to be part of the good times, too.

But if Philadelphia returns to the postseason this season or beyond, he is unlikely to be part of it.

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The Phillies selected the contract of right-hander Drew Hutchison, who will open the season either in the bullpen or as the No. 5 starter, early on Sunday morning. To make room for Hutchison on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated Rupp for assignment. The Phillies have seven days to trade, release or outright Rupp to the Minor Leagues.

Rupp, who has been a fixture on the Phillies the past three seasons, was not surprised.

"It's just the way the team is shaping up," he said, standing in front of his locker at Spectrum Field. "There wasn't room for me. At the end of the day, you know, it's just a tough day. But that's part of it. There's a business side of it. That's the decision they chose to make. We'll see what happens now."

Jorge Alfaro entered camp as a lock to make the team because he is out of options. Andrew Knapp opened camp ahead of Rupp. Knapp has a knack to control the strike zone, a skill the Phillies covet. He posted a .368 on-base percentage in 204 plate appearances last season, while Rupp owns a career .298 mark. The Phillies, as well as scouts from other organizations, also believe Knapp passed Rupp defensively in the past year. Knapp switch-hits, too. He can complement the right-handed-hitting Alfaro in a potential platoon situation.

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"I didn't really know," Rupp said, when asked if he thought there had been a point in camp when he expected this. "There's things where you wonder."

Hutchison, 27, has a 2.75 ERA in 19 2/3 innings this spring. He allowed one hit and three walks in four scoreless innings on Saturday against the Tigers. He struck out three, including Miguel Cabrera with runners on second and third and one out in the third inning.

If the Phillies had not already decided that Hutchison would make the team, Saturday's start cinched it.

So Hutchison at least knows where he will be on Thursday. He will be in Atlanta with the Phillies on Opening Day.

Rupp? He does not know. The Rangers could be a fit, although MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reported that there are varying opinions about Rupp within the organization.

Video: TOR@PHI: Rupp skies a two-run homer to center in 8th

Rupp, Tommy Joseph and Freddy Galvis had become leaders in the Phillies' clubhouse the past couple of seasons, facing tough questions throughout seemingly countless losses.

All three are gone now.

"It's tough," Rupp said. "I saw the end of Jimmy [Rollins], Chase [Utley], Howie [Ryan Howard], Cole [Hamels] -- all the guys who won in 2008. You see them walk out the door and you see a bunch of new faces. Then, you see the guys who are really going to be good. They're really going to help this organization win. It [stinks]. But it's a business, too, unfortunately. This is the business side. I have to deal with it and keep moving forward."

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.

Philadelphia Phillies, Drew Hutchison, Cameron Rupp