Like everyone else, I wish I could say that something big happened with the Philadelphia Phillies this week, but alas all we had were just more rumors, and, phans going mental, and online and print sportswriters trading internet barbs in jest and real.
There was that other thing though,
Spring Training “Games” begin: Pitch Clock Experience
Yes, at the end of the week when full squad workouts began, the first Spring Training “game” was played. These early exhibitions don’t really tell you much as so many players go in and out so the teams can see all the guys they have in camp, so I won’t get much into that.
One thing new to spring training this year, but not to the many MiLB participants, was a Pitch Clock.
The 20 second clock, which has not yet been approved for the regular season, will be phased in as the pre-season progresses.
To start with, they will run, but not be enforced to get the Umpires and players on the same page, and used to it. This is more for the MLB players and umps, as the rules will be as the minors players were already paying under at AA and AAA since 2015:
The MiLB rule states: (i) the batter to be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher with at least five seconds remaining on the timer; and (ii) the pitcher to begin his windup or motion to come to a set position before the 20-second timer expires (the pitch itself does not need to be thrown before the expiration of the timer). The timer will never be used on the first pitch of any at-bat and will begin running prior to the second pitch when the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher.
Sometime early this week the umps will be advising players when they violate the rule, but no ball/strike penalties will be given. Also each club will be told by the umps of any infractions between innings.
Still to be negotiated with the MLBPA, is exactly when actual penalties will be enforced.
As Matt Breen tweeted and wrote for The Athletic, many of the players barely noticed.
Spring Training Injury Update:
One of the players who did not play in any exhibitions yet is Odubel Herrera. He had felt a problem with his hamstring on Wednesday, so they decided early to go slowly with him. He did take batting practice and long-tossed the next day with no problems. In stating that he could play be on the field by Sunday for Monday, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said “I still feel like that’s a good possibility, but we’re going to take that day by day,”
As for P Jake Arrieta, whom I noted last week seemed to be on schedule, he pitched a live batting practice session on Thursday, which Kapler called “Really crisp.”
The Phillies have a full slate of games this week including a split squad on Thursday. Every game this week will be on NBCSP+ except for Tuesday which will be on ESPN+ and MLBTV.
On a side note, another Philadelphia outdoor sports team starts their season on Saturday March 2nd. That would be your Philadelphia Union. Yours truly will be covering the match for PattisonAve.Com, and live tweeting as @pattisonavenue. The Union have made some intriguing moves in the off-season bringing in some international stars, so this could be an interesting season. We will have a preview of this match by our main soccer guy Jay Davenport later in the week, but you can catch a preview of the schedule, by our Michael Dempsey here.