PHILADELPHIA -- Alec Bohm, donning Phillies red from his cap to his spikes, stood atop the home dugout steps and gazed out at the Citizens Bank Park grass. He shook the hands of the current club, whom he hopes to join in a few years. The Phillies' freshly signed top
PHILADELPHIA -- Alec Bohm, donning Phillies red from his cap to his spikes, stood atop the home dugout steps and gazed out at the Citizens Bank Park grass. He shook the hands of the current club, whom he hopes to join in a few years. The Phillies' freshly signed top Draft pick was scheduled to take batting practice with his new team for the first time Tuesday afternoon, but not until the third group of hitters.
"Scared of pitchers?" starter Zach Eflin joked, egging Bohm to join the Phillies' arms in the early group.
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Bohm laughed it off. Although soft-spoken during public appearances since the Phillies took the slugging third baseman out of Wichita State with the third pick in the 2018 Draft, fear does not describe Bohm's current state. He said on Tuesday that he just wants to play baseball. The nearly three weeks that have passed since the Shockers' season ended has been a long time.
"I'm ready to get back out there and get some at-bats and get back into playing," Bohm said.
Now signed with a reported $5.85 million signing bonus, Bohm will get that chance starting Wednesday, when he flies to Clearwater, Fla., to begin a workout program, according to Phillies director of amateur scouting Johnny Almaraz. From there, Bohm should see some time with the Gulf Coast League Phillies before moving up to Class A Short Season Williamsport and hopefully Class A Lakewood by the end of the season. That, as it was last year for the Phillies' top pick, Adam Haseley, is the plan.
Bohm's advancement through the Minors could move rapidly because of his experience and patient approach at the plate. He slashed .339/.436/.625 with 14 doubles, 16 home runs, 55 RBIs, 39 walks and 28 strikeouts as a junior at Wichita State. In the Cape Cod League last summer, he hit .358 with 17 extra-base hits and 28 RBIs.
"The work ethic that he showed me from the Cape to the time we selected him was really, really good," Almaraz said. "That's one of the things I look for as far as the intangibles are concerned. That was so when I met him and scouted him to 'til the very end."
The success is fueled in part by Bohm's displeasure with striking out, something the Phillies have done more than all but three Major League teams this season.
"Striking out, I kind of see it as a waste of an out," Bohm said. "I really hate striking out. The approach is real simple. I just try to put the ball in play. I'm not really too worried about hitting a home run with two strikes, I just want to put it in play."
Bohm improved his walk rate and lowered his strikeout rate each year at Wichita State.
"A lot of that has come from experience and maturity," he said. "Freshman year in college, I was real aggressive, I didn't walk much. I think I walked like nine times my freshman year. But growing into yourself and just kind of learning how to put the ball in play [is key]. Kind of growing and getting experience, knowing what pitchers are trying to do and taking advantage of their mistakes, instead of getting down to two strikes and putting yourself in a hole."
That part of Bohm was what impressed Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. The two had a "fun" conversation, Kapler said, before Bohm joined the team for batting practice.
"Once you get him going on the hitting front, he's got a lot to say," Kapler said. "And it's actually a really advanced mind, so much so that his approach would fit in really well here.
"Hope it's not too long until he gets here."
• Jerad Eickhoff, who has yet to pitch in a Major League game this season, received a cortisone shot in his right wrist on Monday, Kapler said. The Phillies skipper did not have an update on when they could expect to have Eickhoff pitching again. Philadelphia has been trying to determine what condition Eickhoff has been dealing with since he experienced a sensation in his fingers during a rehab start last month.
• Reliever Pat Neshek threw a bullpen session Tuesday. He has not pitched for the Phils this season either after a shoulder strain put him on the disabled list to start the season and a flexor strain in his elbow flared up while rehabbing his shoulder.
• Utility infielder Pedro Florimon could return to the lineup in September after breaking his right foot by fouling a pitch off it during the Phillies' recent road trip, Kapler said. His timetable to return is 8-12 weeks.
The Phillies wore their cream alternate uniforms, which are usually reserved for Sunday afternoon games, on Tuesday night because Rhys Hoskins has not received a double-flapped red helmet to match the usual, pinstriped home uniform. Hoskins returned from a fractured jaw on Saturday.
Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.