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With Howard's debut looming, is Bohm next?

@ToddZolecki
August 8, 2020

PHILADELPHIA -- OK, now that everybody knows that Spencer Howard will make his big league debut on Sunday, when is Alec Bohm coming up? Bohm is the organization’s top prospect and the No. 31 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. Manager Joe Girardi said Saturday that Bohm has

PHILADELPHIA -- OK, now that everybody knows that Spencer Howard will make his big league debut on Sunday, when is Alec Bohm coming up?

Bohm is the organization’s top prospect and the No. 31 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. Manager Joe Girardi said Saturday that Bohm has played “really well” at the team’s alternate training site in Allentown, Pa.

“He’s someone that we have our eye on and he’s someone that we believed was a possibility that he would help us at some point this year,” Girardi said.

But how might Bohm fit? He can play third base and first. He can served as the designated hitter. His path appears blocked at the moment, although it might not be that way forever. Third baseman Jean Segura is batting .182 (4-for-22) with one RBI and a .432 OPS. First baseman Rhys Hoskins is hitting .136 (3-for-22) with one RBI and a .569 OPS.

Girardi said that he thinks Hoskins “just missed a few pitches that would change his numbers dramatically. I think he’s just a tick off.”

“You’d have to juggle some things,” Girardi said about a potential Bohm promotion. “When a [prospect like] Alec comes up, you want him to be able to play almost every day. That’s the kind of thing that you have to think about. You don’t want him sitting five or six days a week. He’s got to play a lot, so we’ll continue to look at that and make the decision when it’s the right time.”

Bullpen 2.0
The Phillies’ bullpen entered Saturday with a 7.89 ERA, the highest mark in baseball.

“We have to get our 'Bullpen 2.0,'” Phillies pitching coach Bryan Price said. “We know our veteran guys, they have a track record. It’s finding out what these other guys can do, because they’re going to have to assist and take the load off of those guys when it comes to finishing a game, the second game of a doubleheader to sweep. It’s important that we have a second layer of bullpen guys.”

That group includes Ramon Rosso, Deolis Guerra, Trevor Kelley, Austin Davis, Cole Irvin and Nick Pivetta. Price cited the team’s nine postponements, specifically the seven consecutive postponements following the season-opening series against the Marlins, who had a COVID-19 outbreak, as a major factor in the early struggles.

“This has been a mess for us,” Price said. “Look, this isn’t about excuses. This is about the reality. We went a week without playing a game. We were able to play a scrimmage in that week. We got on the field one time in five days during one stretch. Our starters are losing the ability to stay stretched out and that puts a bigger onus on the bullpen. … There’s zero continuity. Guys aren’t throwing in a game, and then having a day off and the next day, they’re back out there again. We haven’t gotten to a stretch in the season where we’ve been able to play three, four, five, six, seven days in a row, where guys can get regular work and regular reps and see hitters and start to understand if there is a role definition.

“It’s going to get better throughout the course of the season. After a couple weeks, we should have a much better feel for what we have to work with.”

Extra bases
Ryan Castellani made his big league debut Saturday night for the Rockies in Seattle. His mother, Regina Castellani, worked for nearly 30 years in the Phillies’ community relations department. She helped start the Phillies’ association with ALS Philadelphia.

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