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Hoskins would love to play alongside Harper

February 19, 2019

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Suhhhhh kiiiiiiid.It is the social media comment heard around Philadelphia, when Bryce Harper typed a short message the other day on one of Rhys Hoskins' Instagram posts. Phillies fans freaked, hoping to find some meaning in the words of the free agent that Phillies fans desperately want

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Suhhhhh kiiiiiiid.
It is the social media comment heard around Philadelphia, when Bryce Harper typed a short message the other day on one of Rhys Hoskins' Instagram posts. Phillies fans freaked, hoping to find some meaning in the words of the free agent that Phillies fans desperately want to come to Philadelphia.
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"I think that part has gotten kind of comical with people trying to make something that is nothing into something," Hoskins said Tuesday afternoon at Spectrum Field. "It's just not there. It's 26-year-old guys being 26-year-old guys and interacting on social media. That's what we do."
Hoskins and Harper are buddies. They share Scott Boras as an agent. They spoke just last week, but it wasn't a sign that a deal was imminent.
But the focus on Harper ramped up Tuesday when Manny Machado agreed to a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. It means the Phillies have shifted their focus solely to Harper, who figures to beat Machado's contract.
Will Hoskins be bummed if Harper signs elsewhere?
"Look, we've gotten better already and it's hard to categorize the offseason as a failure if we've gotten better," Hoskins said. "Obviously our young players are a year older and they have a year's more experience under our belt and we brought in a bunch of great dudes, high-quality teammates, a bunch of winners, guys who have performed at the highest level in the past in the World Series, as an MVP, as a Cy Young. The list goes on and on, so I get why Matt [Klentak] is saying that. We feel better as a team."
But it also would be nice to have Harper in right field this season.
"Would I like to play with somebody that I know?" Hoskins said. "Of course I would. I think him and I are developing a relationship that could last a long time. Any time you can play with a friend, I think that's always exciting."
Franco is the man at third
Nobody might be more relieved about Machado going to the Padres than Maikel Franco, who almost certainly would have been traded if Machado had come to Philly. Franco can focus now on competing with Scott Kingery for playing time at third base.
"I know now I'm here," Franco said. "Now I feel confident here."
Franco said he could not help but listen to the Machado speculation, but he said he had no reaction when he heard about Machado's deal while taking batting practice at Carpenter Complex.
"When I heard about it, I just listened, and I just was like, 'Oh, this happened?' I just want to come in and do my job," Franco said.
So would he like Harper in the Phillies' lineup?
"Why not? Yes," he said.
Extra bases
Non-roster invitee Sean Rodríguez has a tear in his right meniscus and a sprain in his right knee. He has some swelling in the knee, although he has been moving around well. If he does not respond well to treatment, Rodriguez and the team will decided if he needs surgery.
Non-roster invitee Gift Ngoepe is not in camp because of visa issues.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.