PHILADELPHIA -- Gabe Kapler could have spent his Monday night at home in Philadelphia, kicking back and enjoying one of the Phillies' very few off-days over the course of a six-month season.Instead, he made the 90-minute drive to watching Double-A Reading play."I thought it was the right thing to do,
PHILADELPHIA -- Gabe Kapler could have spent his Monday night at home in Philadelphia, kicking back and enjoying one of the Phillies' very few off-days over the course of a six-month season.
Instead, he made the 90-minute drive to watching Double-A Reading play.
"I thought it was the right thing to do, to support [Reading manager] Greg Legg," Kapler said before Tuesday night's series opener against the D-backs at Citizens Bank Park. "Our player development staff is so incredibly invested in what we're doing here and deserve a lot of credit for the start that we've had. Their fingerprints are all over this Major League club, and we're in this together. Player development is an unsung department in an organization, and those guys deserve a lot of love and credit for what's happening here."
Kapler got another opportunity to watch right-hander Seranthony Dominguez, who impressed Kapler in Spring Training. Dominguez, who is the organization's No. 12 prospect, struck out one in one scoreless inning.
He is 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in seven appearances.
Asked if Dominguez could help the Phillies this season, Kapler said, "He's definitely got the talent. He's definitely got the demeanor. One of the things that I mentioned yesterday as I was watching him is that when we went out for mound visits [in Spring Training], he was completely poised and composed. In some ways, it's similar to the way Scott Kingery's heartbeat is. Very cool, calm and collected. Then to come up and dial up 97 to 98 mph with a nasty slider -- those two things in combination lead me to believe he can make an impact."
But perhaps the greatest highlight of Kapler's jaunt to Reading? A steak dinner at a nearby restaurant.
"An incredible rib-eye, 20 ounces, medium rare," he said, smiling.
Get those righties in there
Kapler loaded up Tuesday's lineup with right-handed bats and switch-hitters, hoping to offset any advantages D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray had against lefties. That meant Odubel Herrera, J.P. Crawford and Nick Williams started on the bench.
Herrera was hit by a pitch as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. He has reached base safely in 24 consecutive games, dating to last season. It is the longest active on-base streak in the Majors.
"We know Odubel has played 15 straight games," Kapler said. "There's this tough left-handed pitcher on the mound. We like the idea of getting a guy a scheduled off-day [Monday] and then giving him one as well -- back-to-back full recovery and tissue repair. Odubel gets right back in there and plays a long stretch of games."
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.