Results tagged ‘ Cesar Hernandez ’

Utley’s Playing Time to Begin Dwindling?

Chase UtleyChase Utley did not play today at Citizens Bank Park.

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.”

Really?!

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.

Amaro Talks About Ruf, Sizemore and Roster Spots

Ruben Amaro Jr.Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies have about four or five decisions to make before they finalize the Opening Day roster.

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.

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Aumont, Hernandez Out of Options

Phillippe AumontProjecting the Phillies’ Opening Day roster is an annual rite of spring.

For that reason it is worth knowing the players in camp without options. Options play a considerable role in a player’s chances of making the 25-man roster. Players without options must clear waivers before they can be assigned to the Minor Leagues, so there is risk in losing the player altogether if he does not make the team.

In Phillies camp there are six players without options: right-handers Jerome Williams, Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont; left-hander Andy Oliver; and infielders Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez.

It is not a factor for Williams, who signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract in the offseason. He is expected to be the team’s No. 4 starter behind Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Aaron Harang. It also is not a factor for Oliver, who is a Rule 5 Draft pick. The Phillies must keep Oliver on their 25-man roster the entire season or he must be offered back to the Pirates.

Galvis is expected to be the everyday shortstop, so options should not be an issue. De Fratus is a heavy favorite to make the bullpen. The same holds true for him.

But the performances of Aumont and Hernandez this spring are worth watching because of their situations.

Aumont is 1-5 with a 6.13 ERA in 45 appearances over the past three seasons. He has averaged 6.1 walks per nine innings in that time. The Phillies love his stuff, but he will need to throw strikes and pitch much more consistently to earn a spot in the bullpen which already includes locks like Jonathan Papelbon, Ken Giles and Jake Diekman with De Fratus a strong favorite for a fourth spot.

Hernandez seems to be a better bet to make the team because he can play a little bit at shortstop and the Phillies do not have a true backup for Galvis. Hernandez has hit .264 with a .624 OPS in 256 plate appearances the past two seasons.

Galvis Optioned

Freddy GalvisThe Phillies optioned Freddy Galvis to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following tonight’s 12-6 loss to the Blue Jays.

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.”

Galvis Up, Hernandez Down

Freddy GalvisThe Phillies activated Freddy Galvis from the 15-day disabled list today.

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.

Rollins Takes Baby Time

Jimmy RollinsThe Phillies could be without Jimmy Rollins through the weekend.

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.”

Cedeno Released, Look at Bench Options

Ronny CedenoThe Phillies created a little more intrigue to their bench jobs battle today.

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.

 

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Phillies Looking for CF Help with Revere Out

Russell Martin, Ben RevereBen Revere had been one of the hottest hitters on the planet until he broke the malleous bone in his right ankle yesterday in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park.

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.

Young Reinstated, Martinez Optioned

Phillies Cardinals BaseballMichael Young feels fortunate to be back with the Phillies in a relatively clear state of mind.

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.”

Explaining Mini-Mart

Phillies Cardinals BaseballMichael Martinez has hit .188 in 354 plate appearances over two seasons with the Phillies. He hit .239 in 121 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

But he took Chase Utley’s spot on the 25-man roster when the Phillies placed Utley on the disabled list yesterday because of a strained right oblique. (They placed Roy Halladay on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Martinez on the 40-man roster.) Utley is eligible to be activated June 5, so Martinez is unlikely to be around long. But why Martinez and not somebody like Darin Ruf, who could provide a little help offensively? Or somebody like Triple-A infielders Pete Orr or Cesar Hernandez? I got a ton of questions about this move, so here is the explanation from the Phillies.

“We could always use somebody to run,” Charlie Manuel said. “If we take Delmon (Young) out of the game, we might want to keep (John ) Mayberry back to hit. Things like that. Michael is a switch hitter. He can play a lot of positions. Hopefully we won’t have to run Cliff (Lee) no more.”

Ruf is hitting .262 with 13 doubles, five home runs and 23 RBIs with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he had just three hits in his last 29 at-bats entering today. But Ruf also only plays left field and first base, which means there would be little opportunity for him to play. He is unlikely to take away starts from leftfielder Domonic Brown or first baseman Ryan Howard. The Phillies play two interleague games Monday and Tuesday in Boston, but bringing him up for essentially two games didn’t make sense to them.

“I think the better fit was someone who could play all over the field,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “We’ve got two (interleague) games. It would be hard to find (Ruf) a place to play (otherwise) and it probably wouldn’t be the right fit. At this particular point in time Michael would step into what Freddy (Galvis’) role is and play all over the field. He can play some center field if he had to. He’s been here before. That seemed to make some more sense than something like that. It was more Michael’s versatility and just the really short window of interleague play.”

Proefrock said Martinez’s versatility probably helped him over Orr. Hernadnez, who is hitting .312, is primarily a second baseman.

“Freddy is going to play ahead of him, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to bring him up,” Proefrock said of Hernandez. “He’s not as versatile as Michael. He’s pretty much limited at second base right now at least from playing on any kind of regular basis.”

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