Results tagged ‘ Cesar Hernandez ’
Hernandez, 25, entered tonight’s game against the Dodgers hitting .302 (54-for-179) with 10 doubles, one triple, one home run, 19 RBIs and a .771 OPS in 71 games. Meanwhile, Utley is on the disabled list with an injured right ankle. He is hitting .179 (39-for-218) with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 25 RBIs and a .532 OPS in 65 games.
But is the iconic Utley, 36, still the primary second baseman when he returns from the DL?
“Not for me he’s not,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Cesar Hernandez is our best second baseman.”
So whenever Utley returns …
“I would assume that Cesar will be our second baseman,” Amaro said. “Chase’s situation will kind of dictate itself, how he feels. There’ll be time for him to play, I think. He could play some first base. He could play some second. But as far as I’m concerned, just like what our plan has been for a long, long time, that’s to give opportunities to young men who could be part of our future. Cesar Hernandez has been one of our best players on the field right now in a variety of ways.”
Not surprisingly, Utley had little reaction about Amaro’s comments.
“Well, I think Cesar has done a really good job,” Utley said. “There you go.”
Pete Mackanin seems to be on board with Amaro. Asked for a health update on Utley before the game, Mackanin said, “I haven’t heard a word. But with Cesar playing so well, it’s not really a big deal for the simple reason that Utley has not played and seen pitching, so when he does come back … you really can’t count on him. How long has it been? Two weeks. And by the time he starts taking BP and all of that stuff, it’s probably going to be a month before he comes back in and then what do you do? I don’t know.”
Utley’s ankle has improved since a cortisone injection. He could begin baseball activities before the end of the road trip.
He also said recently he could be back on the field before the end of the month.
It was the fourth time in seven games he had not started at second base, although in two of those games he served as the Phillies’ first baseman and designated hitter. Utley’s playing time is being monitored closely these days because he is hitting .182 with a .539 OPS in 244 plate appearances through June 21.
Utley has a $15 million club option for 2016 that automatically vests if he reaches 500 plate appearances this season.
He has 91 games to attain the remaining 256.
Utley declined to discuss his future with the Phillies or his option this morning at Citizens Bank Park, but Ryne Sandberg said after a 9-2 victory over the Cardinals that he would like to see Cesar Hernandez play more in the future.
“I’ve been trying to get him in there,” Sandberg said. “He does a nice job so going forward … wait and see.”
“I definitely feel like I could be the second baseman of the future and I’m trying to take advantage of the opportunity I am getting right now,” Hernandez said through translator Juan Samuel.
Asked about Utley’s future with the organization, Phillies president Pat Gillick said today, “Chase probably is disappointed in his performance to this point. I think he’s a little bit frustrated with his performance. I think maybe we just have to wait and see. Unfortunately, he got off to a bad start in Spring Training with his sprained ankle. But right now he’s not performing up to his standards and certainly we can’t be satisfied with what he’s doing, either.”
But would it be negligent for the organization to have Utley reach the 500-plate appearance mark if he continues to struggle? Utley is hitting .217 with 19 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 70 RBIs and a .617 OPS in 602 plate appearances over 150 games in the last calendar year.
“That’s up to the manager,” Gillick said about Utley’s playing time. “We don’t have anything to say about that.”
“Ruben (Amaro Jr.) to my knowledge and myself, we’ve never dictated to any of the managers their lineup,” Gillick insisted. “They’re free to make their lineup and play whomever they wish.”
If that is truly the case, then it seems Sandberg is already on his way to playing Hernandez more in the future.
But like Sandberg and Gillick said, wait and see.
One important decision has been made. Rule 5 Draft pick Odubel Herrera not only has made the team, he will be the Opening Day center fielder.
“He kind of fits the bill of what we were trying to do,” Amaro said before today’s Grapefruit League game against the Pirates at McKechnie Field. “We were trying to get younger, a little more athletic. He’s got good energy, he’s got a decent package. Is he going to be a .300 hitter toward the top of our lineup or wherever (Ryne Sandberg) puts him? I don’t know. We’re going to give him a shot. That’s what this season is about.”
Right fielder Domonic Brown is likely to open the season on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left Achilles, which would open up another roster spot. The Phillies also might carry an extra bench player or relief pitcher with no need for a fifth starter until April 12.
Darin Ruf is one of the only right-handed bats in camp with power. Amaro said Ruf is not a lock to make the team, but he also said Ruf playing in Triple-A is not ideal.
Read between the lines, folks. Ruf is a safe bet to make the team.
They said they will make a corresponding move before tomorrow night’s game against the Mets at Citi Field. Triple-A infielder Reid Brignac is a possibility. He is hitting .284 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 30 games. He hit two homers today.
Galvis’ demotion did not come as a surprise. He went 0-for-3 with one walk and one strikeout. He is hitting .048 (2-for-42) with one RBI, three walks and 12 strikeouts in 16 games.
“He needs to go, play, get at-bats and gather himself a little bit,” Ryne Sandberg said. “He might have been rushed up here a little bit, with not having Spring Training.”
Galvis missed some time in March when he suffered a MRSA infection in his left knee.
“I missed a lot of games,” Galvis said. “I missed a lot of at-bats. That’s why I’m going down, you know? To get my at-bats, try to get my approach and try to swing the bat better. I don’t feel sad. I don’t feel bad or nothing. I’m just going to go there and work on my hitting. That’s it.”
They optioned Cesar Hernandez to Double-A Reading to make room for him on the 25-man roster.
Galvis had been a lock to make the Opening Day roster, until he picked up MRSA in March. He is the team’s most versatile and best defensive player. I’m guessing Hernandez is headed to Double-A so he can move around the infield a bit more. He needs to learn to play shortstop and third base to get him to stick in the big leagues.
He left the team today to be with his wife Johari in Philadelphia for the imminent birth of their second child. Rollins could be placed on the Major League Baseball’s paternity leave list as early as Friday. Teams have 48 hours to place the player on leave once the baby is born.
Players have up to three days of paternity leave.
“He had a reason to go today,” Ryne Sandberg said.
The Phillies played today’s series finale against the Rangers at Globe Life Park with 24 players. If and when they place Rollins on paternity leave, they would be allowed to replace him on the roster.
“When the baby is delivered we’ll go from there,” Sandberg said.
In the meantime, infielder Jayson Nix is expected to play shortstop while Rollins is out. Cesar Hernandez would only be played there in an emergency situation.
“He’s very steady, very professional, very polished infielder,” Sandberg said of Nix. “I heard good things about his glove, and after watching him take ground balls, he’s fundamentally sound. I’ve also been impressed with his batting practice, and his at-bats last night.”
They announced they had released infielder Ronny Cedeno, who seemed like the leading internal candidate to take Freddy Galvis’ spot on the 25-man roster while he recovers from MRSA. The Phillies had until Tuesday to place Cedeno on the 25-man roster, pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to play in Triple-A or release him.
The move indicates the Phillies believe they have a better option elsewhere.
“We’re still looking inside and outside the organization as far as filling that role,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “But we have candidates. We have guys internally and there are some guys we’re looking at outside the organization as well.”
Reid Brignac and Cesar Hernandez remain the only utility infielders in big-league camp, but Brignac is not necessarily regarded as a glove guy, although Rays manager Joe Maddon praised his defense in the past, and Hernandez hasn’t played shortstop since he was 17 in 2007. Infielder Kevin Frandsen also opted for free agency today after the Phillies outrighted him Sunday, which hurts their overall infield depth. The Phillies said he still had a chance to make the team, although he would not have filled the bill as a defensive shortstop.
He said this morning he could miss six to eight weeks, although he will learn more tomorrow when he visits a foot specialist. In the meantime, Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies are in the market for a centerfielder.
“The prognosis doesn’t sound too good,” Amaro said. “I think it’s something that’s going to take a while. … Whoever we think is an upgrade, whether it’s defensive or offensive. We’d like to probably get a little bit better. John (Mayberry Jr.) is a good center fielder. He’s not a plus defender. So if we can get a better one than that, that’d be good.”
Losing Revere to injury is a blow to the Phillies, whose offense has picked up in recent weeks. Revere is hitting .347 since the end of April, which is the sixth-best mark in baseball in that span. His .380 on-base percentage is 19th out of 164 qualifying hitters.
The Phillies activated catcher Erik Kratz to take Revere’s spot on the roster, although it seems likely the team will not carry three catchers following the All-Star break.
“It’s one of those deals,” Revere said. “It’s part of the game. I’ve probably hit a couple balls on the same spot a couple times and really nothing happened, except a bruise. But it was good the next day. But this was finally the one that cracked it.”
The Phillies also are looking internally at options at center field. They recently started playing Triple-A Lehigh Valley second baseman Cesar Hernandez in center, but they have accelerated his learning curve. He had been scheduled to play in the International League’s All-Star Game this week, but the Phillies are sending him to Double-A Reading to play center field instead.
“He’ll be playing exclusively in center field to see if that’s an option for us,” Amaro said. “He struggled yesterday , but it’s a new position for him. But we’ll give him a shot.”
Triple-A shortstop Freddy Galvis has played some outfield for the Phillies, but Amaro indicated center field is not an option for him.
So make that two spots the Phillies say they are trying to upgrade before the July 31 Trade Deadline: bullpen and centerfield.
He got a big scare last Tuesday at Fenway Park, where he received a serious phone call about 30 minutes before his game against the Red Sox regarding a health issue concerning his nine-month-old son Antonio. Young went on the bereavement list Wednesday to return home to Texas before returning to Philadelphia to be activated before tonight’s series opener against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.
“That’s what I’ve been doing, tending to my little boy,” said Young, who declined to discuss specifics regarding his son’s health issue. “A hospital bed is no place for a nine-month-old baby boy. They’re home now. Better. Awaiting some results from some tests, but he’s home now and isn’t stuck to an IV, which is a good thing to see from a father’s standpoint. He’s home with my family and he’s comfortable.”
The Phillies optioned light-hitting infielder Michael Martinez to make room for Young on the roster. They instead kept Cesar Hernandez, who replaced Young on the roster last week. The Phillies trumpeted Martinez’s defensive versatility when he replaced Chase Utley on the roster May 24, but while Hernandez is primarily a second baseman, he simply is a better baseball player than Martinez. Hernandez entered Monday hitting .263 (5-for-19) with one double in five games. Martinez has a career .509 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 358 plate appearances over parts of three seasons with the Phillies.
But the good news is Young’s son is feeling better.
“I’m OK,” Young said. “We got a lot of potentially bad things ruled out, which is great news. The fact that some really horrible things were ruled out was great news for my family. I’m just happy my son’s home.”
Young is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow. He said he is ready to play.
“I could always count on baseball to be kind of my sanctuary, another place where I can be me and cut it loose and go out and compete at the highest level, which is who I am and what I do and what I love to do the most,” he said. “If anything, I can count on baseball for that.”