Jankowski excited to join 'hometown team'

June 1st, 2021

cannot remember the exact circumstances or date, but he knows at some point early in his career with the Padres, he wound up on second base in a game at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley approached.

"Hey, man," Utley said. "Good swing."

"He's the only guy I've ever been star struck playing against," Jankowski said on the telephone Tuesday morning from Cincinnati. "I don't even know what I said. I think I was probably like, 'Thanks, Chase. I grew up watching you.' He probably didn't hear me and walked away. That was like the coolest thing that's ever happened to me."

Jankowski, 29, graduated from Lancaster Catholic High School in 2009, so he spent his formative years watching the Phillies win a World Series and dominate the National League. He never attended many games at Citizens Bank Park, because he played three sports in high school, but he said he watched them play on TV almost every night.

The Phillies selected Jankowski's contract from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday after Roman Quinn suffered a season-ending left Achilles injury. Jankowski went 0-for-2 in his Phillies debut in Monday's 11-1 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati.

Jankowski and his family still live in the Lancaster area in the offseason -- Amish horse and buggies roll past the house throughout the day -- so when he had the opportunity to join the Phillies, he jumped at it.

"I know it was just a Minor League contract, but when my agent called me and said the Phillies were offering, I was like, 'Yeah, yeah. Of course,'" he said. "What else could I want? Growing up watching Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins play the game, watching how hard they played the game, it was one of those things where, if I can wear the same uniform as those guys, why not?"

Jankowski has batted .237 with a .627 OPS in 996 plate appearances over parts of seven seasons with the Padres, Reds and Phillies. He is a superb defender, which is why the Phils chose him to replace Quinn on the 26-man roster.

Jankowski can play a better center field than Mickey Moniak and others.

"It's my hometown team," Jankowski said. "It's the team I grew up watching. It's the team everybody in my hometown pretty much roots for. So, while I think I probably got fewer texts [than my first call to the big leagues in 2015], it was still kind of overwhelming with the messages from my neighbors and friends in the community."

Stott promoted to Double-A
Bryson Stott, who the Phillies selected with the 14th overall pick in the 2019 Draft, got promoted to Double-A Reading. He batted .288 with a 1.001 OPS in 95 plate appearances with High-A Jersey Shore.

Stott is the organization's No. 2 prospect behind right-hander Mick Abel.

A four-man rotation in June?
The Phillies do not play seven days in June. They play five consecutive days only once: June 12-16 vs. the Yankees and Dodgers. It allows the Phils to get creative and try a four-man rotation for stretches, if they choose, giving more opportunities to start to Zack Wheeler, Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola.

"We are discussing different things and different options," Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll check the pulse of everyone and how everyone's doing. Those things are all in discussions right now."

One consideration for the Phillies is the workload of Wheeler, Eflin and Nola. They have pitched a lot of innings, and with injuries piling up across the sport, the organization could be cautious with them.

"We've got to weigh those things," Girardi said.

Extra bases
• Right-hander Sam Coonrod had a 0.95 ERA in his first 17 appearances this season, but he has allowed seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in his last four outings. Girardi chalked up most of those runs to the team's poor defensive play.

"It looks a lot worse than it probably is," Girardi said. "He's pitched a lot better than the numbers are indicating right now."

• Girardi said the Phillies have not crossed the 85 percent threshold in COVID-19 vaccinations, and they probably will not anytime soon. It means they will continue to have restrictions placed upon them in the clubhouse, in the dugout and on the road.

"You'd like to have more freedoms, I think we all would," Girardi said. "I think we all get tired of wearing our masks in situations. I'm vaccinated, I'm outside and I'm still having to wear my mask. Part of me doesn't understand that. But I would like to be able to go back to normal, but it's not going to happen anytime soon for us."