PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies offered a few small surprises and made a handful of notable decisions Thursday, when they announced their Opening Day roster.
First, there are only 29 players on the 30-man roster. Infielder Phil Gosselin will be placed on the roster before Friday night’s opener against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak confirmed. Gosselin entered camp as a non-roster invitee, and he and the Phils are finalizing contract details. Gosselin earned his spot. Unofficially, he had a billion hits in Summer Camp.
Domínguez still has not had Tommy John surgery, putting him at risk of missing the 2021 season.
“We are hopeful that will happen soon,” Klentak said. “The reason that it's been further delayed is a reason that I can't really talk about. He's doing fine. He's healthy. He's preparing for that surgery.”
The Phils have 40 players on their 40-man roster.
Here is a look at the team:
Catchers (2): J.T. Realmuto and Andrew Knapp
Realmuto will be behind the plate on Opening Day, and he will begin the season without the contract extension that many expected before Spring Training in February. The best bet is that Realmuto will enter free agency and the Phillies will try to re-sign him then. They are taking a risk.
“In terms of the Mookie Betts contract, I had a chance to kind of go through the terms this afternoon and look at it,” Klentak said. “I'm always careful not to weigh in on another team's player or contract, but I will say that it appears to me that it was a very creative and collaborative solution that really reflects the uniqueness of 2020. I should probably just leave it there.”
Knapp is Realmuto’s backup. Deivy Grullón is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster. He is expected to be part of the team’s three-man travelling taxi squad.
Infielders (5): Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Didi Gregorius, Jean Segura and Neil Walker
Kingery had a month-long bout with COVID-19, but he showed enough recently to join Gregorius, Hoskins and Segura in the Opening Day infield. Phillies manager Joe Girardi is not interested in shuffling everybody around the infield, like former manager Gabe Kapler, so expect Kingery at second, Segura at third and Gregorius at shortstop.
Walker can play first, second, third and the outfield. He is a switch-hitter, making him a nice bench bat for Girardi. Gosselin had an incredible Summer Camp. He hit well for the Phils off the bench last season.
Top prospect Alec Bohm will not be promoted until at least the sixth day of the season. Philadelphia would gain an extra year of team control if he is not on the roster the first five days. If Bohm does join the team at some point, he could see time at designated hitter, third base and first base.
Outfielders (6): Jay Bruce, Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper, Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn and Kyle Garlick
The Phillies have versatility in the outfield. Harper and McCutchen are expected to open at the corners. Bruce could see action in both left and right, especially if Girardi wants Harper or McCutchen to DH on occasion.
Girardi has answered more questions about center field than anything else this summer. The short answer: The Opening Day center fielder is not necessarily going to be the everyday center fielder. If Quinn or Haseley step up and seize the job, great. If it works better as a platoon, great. Quinn is a fantastic defender. Haseley graded out well in center last September, too. Their ability to cover ground could have one in center and the other on a corner on occasion.
The Phils acquired Garlick -- a right-handed bat with power -- in February in a trade with the Dodgers. Nick Williams did not make the team. He once had a future with the team, but he has fallen down the depth chart.
“Unfortunately, the landscape of the outfield situation with the Phillies has changed in the last couple years and it's been a difficult situation for him,” Klentak said. “We were very open with Nick. He was very open with us in a really productive and professional and respectful way in both directions. We're going to take it day by day. He's still a guy who we really do think is talented and has a bright future.”
Rotation (5): Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Vince Velasquez, Jake Arrieta and Zach Eflin
Nola, Wheeler and Velasquez will pitch in the season-opening series against the Marlins. Arrieta will pitch Monday against the Yankees. Eflin will likely be Tuesday's starter. Girardi said Eflin looked great in a four-inning, 60-pitch simulated game Thursday.
The Phillies carried eight relief pitchers the past few years, but with rosters expanding to 30 the first two weeks of the season, they will carry three more.
Neris, Morgan, Álvarez, Pivetta, Hunter and Irvin are not surprises. Guerra is out of options, which made him a slight favorite entering camp. Kelley, McClain and Rosso did not pitch for the Phils last season. Davis did. Philadelphia released veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano and veteran right-handers Anthony Swarzak and Bud Norris over the past week. Klentak said it wasn’t for financial/luxury tax reasons.
“We’re going to have to share some of those high-leverage situations in the beginning,” Girardi said. “We’re going to look at matchups and we’re going to match our guys stuff up against the guys who are coming up. We envision Tommy Hunter being able to do that and Nick Pivetta being able to do it and some other guys. Guerra has some experience. Trevor Kelley has pitched in the big leagues. We’ll bring some of the other guys along slowly is what we have to do.”