Notes: Painter introduced; Howard let loose

July 24th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and agent Scott Boras have shared daises at numerous press conferences over the years.

They shared another Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies introduced first-round Draft pick . Painter, whom the Phillies selected with the 13th overall pick, signed a contract last week worth $3.9 million. He established himself as one of the top prep pitchers in the country over the past few years. He is 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds with a fastball that sits in the 94-96 mph range and touches 97 mph. He throws a four-seam fastball, sinker, curveball, slider and changeup. He went 6-1 with a 0.31 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings as a senior, earning Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year Award.

“We have had many stars who have had very productive careers and All-Star careers, and we’re very hopeful and think that will happen to Andrew, also,” Dombrowski said.

Boras agrees.

“Normally high school athletes have arm strength, otherwise they wouldn't be taken where they're taken,” he said. “The great thing about Andrew, and you can certainly credit his parents, is that his maturity level is beyond his age. He is a very, very disciplined athlete playing at a highly competitive high school in Florida. But Andrew is also a player who is going to field his position well, because he is quite a basketball player and a great athlete.

“I think he has a great command of a high-velocity fastball. Great learning aptitude. And really an extraordinary athlete. And I think we're going to see a body type that fosters into something that is going to be a very strong and durable pitcher going forward.”

The Phillies said they hope Painter can pitch in some games in Clearwater, Fla., before the end of the season.

“Right now, I’m really just trying to get in the best shape possible,” Painter said. “I don't think there's any rush to get on the mound. I think we're going to take everything slow and really try to prioritize the health and make sure I'm clean.”

Howard will start Monday
The Phillies said right-hander will start Monday against the Nationals, following three scoreless innings Wednesday against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

“We like what he did,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “We like some of the improvements that he’s made. He’s maintained his stuff better and he’s used his offspeed more.”

Howard has not thrown more than 68 pitches in any of his 10 appearances (six starts) this season with the Phillies. He threw a season-high 84 pitches with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on July 10. Girardi said he is not afraid to turn Howard loose, if possible.

“We kind of took the gloves off,” Girardi said. “We’re at a point where we don’t need to conserve innings anymore. We’d love for him to go nine, if he could go nine.”

Looper dies at 72
Former Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper died on Saturday. He was 72.

Looper worked with the Phillies from 2008-17, mostly as assistant general manager to former general managers Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro Jr. Looper ran the organization’s Minor League operations, with 11 teams making the postseason and three winning championships. Looper spent the previous 22 season working with the Mariners. Looper was always regarded as one of the nicest, most genuine people in the Phillies organization.

“Benny will long be remembered for his endearing personality, kindhearted demeaner, and infectious smile,” the Phillies said in a statement.