CLEARWATER — As is my usual routine, I got to Bright House Field for today’s Phillies-Braves game at 8AM, which is when the home team’s clubhouse is usually open for media. Except today the Phillies’ clubhouse isn’t open.
This happens sometimes. Lots of reasons, be it meetings, guest speakers from the league or the MLBPA or what have you. It was my bad for not checking ahead of time. I didn’t ask for the specific reason it was closed. But this being the Phillies, I assume it was a canasta tournament, seniors yoga or a “Matlock” marathon. No. “Murder, She Wrote.”
This much is 100% true: when I got here, former Reds and Astros catcher Ed Taubensee was waiting in the lobby area and was given the OK to go in the clubhouse. Taubensee last played in the bigs in 2001, so I assume he’s here so that Ruben Amaro can give him a three-year, $39 million contract with a vesting option.
OK, I’ll stop now. I promised myself I’d give up trolling Phillies fans for Lent. I won’t because I’m not Catholic, but the spirit of sacrifice is good for the soul, so I’ll try to make an effort.
Updates from Clearwater later this morning.
Horrible news for Marlins stater Edinson Volquez: Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today reports that his younger brother has been stabbed to death in the Dominican Republic.
Brandy Volquez was just 25. He was involved in an early-morning fight on Monday with two men at a barbershop in Santo Domingo. One man is in police custody. Volquez, you may recall, lost his father mere hours before starting Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, so he is no stranger to tragedy, unfortunately.
“I will always remember you my brother. May God have you in his kingdom,” Volquez wrote in an Instagram post. “RIP one love.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed outfielder Gregor Blanco to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Blanco hit a mere .224/.309/.311 in 106 games with the Giants in 2006. It was his worst campaign in his big league career, not counting a 24-game stint with the Braves in 2009. Blanco suffered at least one concussion in 2015 and was on the DL for concussion issues twice that season. There’s no telling if that had anything to do with his subpar year, however.
He’ll fight for a backup job for Arizona, who already has A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas in the outfield.