CLEARWATER, Fla. – Jerad Eickhoff will start for the Phillies on Thursday afternoon as they open their spring-training schedule with an exhibition against the University of Tampa at Spectrum Field.
Eickhoff will likely only pitch an inning as manager Gabe Kapler said he expects to use “roughly” nine pitchers against Tampa. It will be the start of an important spring for Eickhoff, who battled injuries last season and failed to replicate the success and consistency he showed in 2016. Eickhoff finished last season with a 4.71 ERA and made nine less starts then did a year earlier.
“He looks great. He’s completely healthy,” manager Gabe Kapler said.
The Phillies open their Grapefruit League schedule on Friday in neighboring Dunedin against the Blue Jays. They play their first Grapefruit League home game on Saturday against Baltimore.
Outfield playing time
Gabe Kapler said he has no doubts he will be able to find enough playing time during the regular season for his four outfielders despite having just three positions.
“I’m just not that concerned about it,” Kapler said. “They’re all going to get a ton of reps.”
Balancing their playing time could be on Kapler’s most challenging tasks. It is likely that a regular lineup will include Rhys Hoskins in left, Odubel Herrera in center, and either Nick Williams or Aaron Altherr in right field. Hoskins is limited to left and first base while the other three can move around all three outfield positions. The positional flexibility could help Kapler get creative as he moves players in and out of his lineup.
“I envision plenty of at-bats to keep everyone happy and performing well. We know there’s going to be a few reps at first base, we know all of the outfield reps are going to come, we know there’s going to be pinch-hit at-bats, we know there’s going to be double switches,” Kapler said. “If you factor all of these things in, there’s a lot of at-bats for essentially four positions. And we haven’t even explored other ways creatively to get them into the lineup.”
Williams nearly hit Kapler’s car with a batting-practice homer for the second consecutive day. “We’re going to make it a bullseye.”… All major-league teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hats on Friday in support the Parkland, Fla. school after last week’s school shooting. The hats will then be signed and auctioned off to raise money for Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund …Thursday’s game will be streamed online at tampaspartans.tv.
Published at Wed, 21 Feb 2018 22:24:24 +0000