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'Whatever it takes' -- Girardi ready for anything

@ToddZolecki
July 2, 2020

PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Girardi thinks this can work. It will be difficult, of course. The Phillies face countless challenges as they begin Summer Camp on Friday at Citizens Bank Park and FDR Park. Those challenges will continue through a season scheduled to begin July 23 or 24, but reduced to

PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Girardi thinks this can work.

It will be difficult, of course. The Phillies face countless challenges as they begin Summer Camp on Friday at Citizens Bank Park and FDR Park. Those challenges will continue through a season scheduled to begin July 23 or 24, but reduced to 60 games because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, Girardi said Thursday in a Zoom call that everybody needs to try.

“We’re going to be approaching this season as everything we do is going to be different than anything we’ve ever done,” Girardi said. “I think it’s going to take a lot of patience by players, having to do things yourself that normally you didn't do. I think the focus has to be on doing things the right way. The veterans have to set the example -- not complaining about it. 'God, this is uncomfortable.' Of course, it's uncomfortable. But we also know how much we really truly miss the game and being at the ballpark. You can’t ever forget that. We were all dying to get back. Whatever it takes, let’s do this. Let’s play games and go have fun. And let’s go win. That’s the message.

“It really comes down to social responsibility. People distancing and people wearing masks is really what it comes down to. If communities and states and our country are able to do that, I definitely think that we can do this. But if we don't and we have a lack of judgment, we jeopardize everything. So, for me, it comes down to really how socially responsible we are as an industry, as a state and as a country. I think we can do it.”

Here are 5 Phillies storylines heading into camp

Earlier this week, the Phillies announced seven players have tested positive for COVID-19, including six who worked out the past few months at the team’s facilities in Clearwater, Fla.

Girardi talked some baseball on Thursday. He said he expects the Phillies to use a five-man rotation, which is not a surprise. He hopes his starters will be built up to throw 60 pitches their first times through the rotation. Teams will carry 30 players the first two weeks of the season. The Phillies could carry anywhere from 15-17 pitchers, compared to the normal 13.

Girardi echoed general manager Matt Klentak’s thoughts from earlier this week, saying he does not expect to anoint a designated hitter, which will be used be both leagues under special rules for this season. Jay Bruce should receive at-bats there, but with only three weeks to prepare for a 60-game, 66-day season, the Phillies will use the DH slot to also get J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins off their feet.

Because the Phillies will not be playing a slate of Summer Camp games against opposing teams, Girardi said the team will consider what they saw from players in February and March regarding roster spots.

“I think you have to take into account players’ track records, and I think you have to take into account what you see in intrasquad and if we get a chance at the end to play a few games at the end of [Summer Camp],” he said. “Those are the things that we have to look at. There will be a lot of eyes evaluating. I think you have to take into account how it affects everything in your organization moving forward, too. This is going to be tricky, but I think we had a pretty good handle on it before we were shut down, and we’ll continue to try and feed off of that.”

Girardi said he “absolutely” thinks there is a chance that right-hander David Robertson returns from Tommy John surgery. He said right-hander Seranthony Domínguez still has not had his Tommy John surgery.

“There are players we have concerns about,” he said. “How much they were actually able to do compared to others, and we need to pay close attention to that.”

But the greatest challenge is COVID-19. The Phillies must be vigilant.

“There is a big responsibility that falls on everyone when we leave the building,” Girardi said. “You have to be responsible and really quarantine yourself. Only be around people you have been around. … We’re not used to being alone, and we’re not used to not being able to do what we want to do in our country, and you have to stress things to them. We will stay on them.”

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