LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Tommy Joseph unseated Ryan Howard as the Phillies' everyday first baseman in 2016.Joseph, 26, learned Monday that the Phillies designated him for assignment to make room for Jacob Arrieta on the 40-man roster. Joseph hit 43 home runs his first two seasons with the Phillies
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Tommy Joseph unseated Ryan Howard as the Phillies' everyday first baseman in 2016.
Joseph, 26, learned Monday that the Phillies designated him for assignment to make room for Jacob Arrieta on the 40-man roster. Joseph hit 43 home runs his first two seasons with the Phillies while establishing himself as a highly regarded leader in the clubhouse, but he lost his job at first base late last season to Rhys Hoskins. The Phillies then signed first baseman Carlos Santana in December, moving Hoskins to left field.
Santana's arrival made Joseph the odd man out as the Phillies look this spring for bench players that can play multiple positions. Joseph has tried left field, but he is primarily a first baseman.
"Every man in that clubhouse has an incredible amount of respect for Tommy," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said after Monday night's 3-0 win over the Braves. "It's a loss in the clubhouse. He's been a joy."
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Kapler said he informed Joseph in his office before Monday's game.
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"I told him that we still believe that he's a part of this and we would like it to break that he is part of this," Kapler said.
The Phillies have seven days to trade Joseph or place him on irrevocable outright waivers. If Joseph is claimed he immediately joins that team's 40-man roster. If he is not claimed, he can be sent to the Minor Leagues or released.
Joseph hit .257 with 21 home runs, 47 RBIs and an .813 OPS as a rookie in 2016 and .240 with 22 homers, 69 RBIs and a .721 OPS last season.
Right-hander Zach Eflin allowed one hit in five scoreless innings with two strikeouts against the Braves on Monday night. Eflin has been competing with Ben Lively, Mark Leiter, Jake Thompson and others to be the Phillies' No. 5 starter, but it is unclear where they stand following the acquisition of Arrieta. Aaron Nola has been a lock, with Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta considered favorites to make the rotation.
Eflin has a 2.89 ERA through 9 1/3 Grapefruit League innings this spring and said he isn't concerned about where he stands in the rotation race.
"Regardless of what's going on, I've got to compete and pitch," Eflin said. "Everything is going to settle the way it settles. I think about the fifth day and my next outing, wherever it may be. I personally couldn't care less about anything that goes on like that."
"Everybody in our clubhouse, the guys that have been in camp, know that they are a part of this," Kapler said. "They're a part of what we're building here in Philadelphia, and I think they know their ultimate goal is to be part of our Major League club. That's probably what the guys are staying focused on right now."
Cameron knows Jake
Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp knew Arrieta growing up together in Texas. Rupp's father, Kevin, and Arrieta's father, Lou, coached Little League together. Rupp's younger brother Clint and Arrieta's younger brother Sam were teammates.
"[Jake] and I used to run around during practices," Rupp said.
Rupp is excited to greet his new teammate Tuesday morning at Spectrum Field.
"It would be really cool -- little brothers playing Little League together and big brothers playing in the big leagues together," Rupp said.
Rolen drops into camp
Former Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen visited camp to meet manager Gabe Kapler and talk with Phillies infielders. He had been scheduled to work in the infield, but the morning rain kept him indoors. Rolen received 10.2 percent of the vote in January for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Does Rolen think he has a chance to reach the necessary 75 percent at some point? A player must hit that mark in 10 years before falling off the ballot.
"What an honor that would be," Rolen said. "When you get in the mail that I'm on the Hall of Fame ballot you're like, that's pretty cool. I've lived another day at 10.2 percent. I don't know. Can my career get better if I'm not playing? Is that possible? I'm not 100 percent up on the system.
"I don't know any of the stats that anybody is looking at anymore, either. Joey Votto told me what [WAR] meant. Do they use RBIs, home runs, Gold Gloves?"
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.