Girardi gives Harper second day off

May 24th, 2021

Joe Girardi swore that he gave a second consecutive day off on Monday simply because he felt like it.

It had nothing to do with Harper's sore right shoulder or any other injury concerns, Girardi said.

“I went to bed last night, woke up this morning and I said, 'You know what? I’m going to give him another day,'” Girardi said before the Phillies’ series opener against the Marlins in Miami. “That’s the reason.”

Since Harper went 2-for-2 with one double and three walks against the Blue Jays on May 14 in Dunedin, Fla., he is 2-for-25 with one walk and 13 strikeouts. He has been bothered by a sore right shoulder in that stretch.

Harper’s recent struggles lowered his season slash line from .318/.449/.582 to .274/.395/.489.

“I don’t think so, no,” Girardi said, when asked if Harper’s shoulder is affecting him. “He has not said anything about it. He’s been scuffling a little bit and sometimes a couple days off helps players, and I just chose to give him another day off.”

Didi Gregorius was eligible to be activated from the 10-day injured list on Monday, but he still has some inflammation in his right elbow.

“Which is kind of strange,” Girardi said. “We’re trying to get it out, but we do feel it’s better than it was.”

Gregorius is not swinging or throwing yet.

Signs of life from Randolph?
It is early, but a few people have noticed Cornelius Randolph’s impressive start with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

He earned Triple-A East Player of the Week honors after he batted .591 (13-for-22) with four doubles, three home runs, nine RBIs and a 1.791 OPS in six games from May 17 through Sunday. It included a 5-for-5 game on Wednesday against Syracuse.

Randolph is batting .377 with four home runs, 13 RBIs and a 1.119 OPS in 15 games.

The Phillies selected Randolph, 23, with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, but he fell off most prospect lists after a few years. He last appeared on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Phillies prospects list in 2019, when he ranked 28th.

“I think growing over time, it sometimes takes players a little longer than others,” Phillies player development director Josh Bonifay said. “But Cornelius Randolph has worked his tail off. He’s done a phenomenal job. He’s really taken to improving himself physically and improving himself at the plate. He’s worked really hard with our staff in terms of swing -- working on swing decisions.”

Randolph swung and missed a lot as he progressed through the Phillies’ system. He struck out in 26.2% of his plate appearances with Double-A Reading in 2019. He has struck out in 21.1% of his plate appearances with Lehigh Valley.

“He’s shortened his swing,” Bonifay said. “He really went into a different focus. It’s one pitch at a time. It’s one at-bat at a time. He’s not putting a lot of pressure on himself.”

Randolph played 20 games this past winter in Australia. It was the only competitive baseball he played between 2019 and the beginning of Spring Training in Clearwater, Fla. Randolph was not invited to the team’s alternate training site last summer during the COVID-19 pandemic. But he continued to work anyway.

“He might have been one of the most impressive kids we had during the hiatus,” Bonifay said. “He bought himself [an exercise bike]. He bought himself workout equipment. He went the extra mile to make sure that he was ready to go at any point during the hiatus. He didn’t hit as well as he wanted in Australia, but he got himself into a good position. He came into Spring Training hungry. It was awesome to watch.”

Williams makes Team USA
It was a good week for another Phillies farmhand, too. Luke Williams made the Team USA roster for the Olympics qualifier. It is a roster that includes both prospects and big leaguers, like Matt Kemp, Todd Frazier, Matt Wieters and Logan Forsythe.

The Phillies selected Williams in the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He is batting .352 with a .903 OPS in 18 games with Lehigh Valley.

Williams should be able to help Team USA just about anywhere. He has started 11 or more games in his Minor League career at every position except pitcher and catcher.

“He plays almost every position and he plays them well, he doesn’t just play them,” Bonifay said. “He plays them without making errors. There aren’t too many players in the big leagues who can play all of those positions and play them that well.”