Left Hand Power, No Pain Nola, and Free Phillies Game Streaming fill out the line-up for this week’s Phillies ICYMI Monday.
Left Hand Power:
On Monday sources were being cited all over the internet that the Phillies had signed a heavy hitting Toronto Blue Jays FA. No it was not “Joey Bats” as many were fantasizing on talk shows and social media – he did wind up back in Toronto with a one year, $18M deal – but a much more affordable Michael Saunders instead. The one-year, $9M contract – including an $11 – $14M club option with a $1M buyout – was officially announced on Thursday.
Saunders, 30, was an AL All-Star last season hitting .253 with 32 2B, three 3B, 24 HR, 57 RBIs and an .815 OPS. His 2nd half though was nowhere near as good as his AS start, batting just .178 with a .638 OPS in 214 plate appearances. Saunders recently blamed that on fatigue due to a less than ideal off-season training regimen, after missing most of 2015 with a meniscus injury.
To make room for Saunders on the 40-man roster, the Phillies DFA’d RHP Severino Gonzalez.
Saunders would likely play RF here, with the newly acquired Howie Kendrick in LF, and would seem to fit in best batting 5th, protecting Maikel Franco , and splitting him with RH Tommy Joseph in 6th.
“Yeah, I’m starting to play around with it,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said on Monday night. “Where am I going to hit Saunders? Where am I going to hit [Maikel] Franco? Do I hit [Saunders] behind to protect Franco or do I hit [Howie] Kendrick behind to protect Franco? Do I protect Franco? Who do I protect? It’ll all depend on the rest of the team, the guys on the bench. Their makeup will determine how I’ll determine where to hit a guy in the lineup.
Those all sound like good problems to have going into 2017.
While adding depth to the OF, this also allows the Phillies to give prospect (Phillies #7 per MLB Pipeline) Roman Quinn some more seasoning in Lehigh Valley and more chances to prove he can stay off the DL.
“I can control what I can control,” Quinn said Monday. “I’m just going to go out there, give it my all and see what happens from there.”
“The only thing I’m going to do differently this year as far as trying to stay healthy is find something that I can do every day without weight resistance, something that’ll maintain my strength throughout the whole season,” he said. “It’s pretty much getting in a good workout, something light, just to get my body loose and strengthen my body in all areas.”
No Pain Nola:
“100 percent,” Aaron Nola said. “My arm is all good.”
This pronouncement came Tuesday night as Nola joined Mackanin and teammates Franco and Quinn in Reading, Pa. as part of the Phillies’ Winter Caravan. Nola, coming off a late July season ending low-grade sprain of his UCL and a low-grade strain of his flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow, got a PRP injection in August and then what appears to be a successful rehab in Clearwater, Fla., in October.
“All through rehab, I had no pain,” Aaron said. “Probably in the middle of rehab I started feeling really good. Toward the end, I started upping the intensity a little bit. I knew after I took two months off I was going to be good. I started back up throwing after Christmas, and I didn’t have any hesitation on really getting on balls and stretching it out a little bit.
“I’ve been throwing for a few weeks now. No pain, no hesitation. Not any of it. I’ll be ready before or right when pitchers and catchers go [on Feb. 14].”
To earn a job in the starting rotation, that will likely include Jeremy Hellickson, Clay Buchholz, Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez, Mackanin said;
“He’s got to show he’s healthy and he’s making pitches. Now, when the season rolls around, it’s like anybody else, results matter. I think that if he’s healthy he’s going to be successful.”
Free Phillies Game Streaming:
Also on Thursday, connected device owning Phillies Phans rejoiced at the news that CSNPhilly.Com would be streaming all regular season games starting in 2017. To stream you must be an authenticated CSN Philadelphia and/or TCN Philadelphia subscriber as part of an agreement between NBC Sports Regional Networks and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Pre and Post Game Live shows will also be available. CSN had been doing this with 76r’s and Flyers games already this past season. To stream on desktop, mobile device, tablet or connected TV you must first download the NBC Sports app available at all the usual outlets.
This is just not in Philadelphia as Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, also announced deals with their CSN websites.
This will certainly make it easier to watch games down the shore, especially with radio broadcasts no longer on the far-reaching 1210 AM, and anywhere else you may be travelling without having to pay for the MLBTV package.
It would seem that except for minor tweaks going into ST in 21 days, it should be a quiet time for the Phillies so I can finally start in on the prospects we will see in a few weeks. Next week we will start with the Starters.
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