Yuniesky Betancourt’s spring forces Phillies’ hand

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Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt can opt out of his Minor League contract with the Phillies tomorrow, which means he will want to know if the team plans to bring him north on the 25-man roster. Betancourt is hitting .447 in 47 spring at-bats which has certainly put him on some other teams’ radars, such as the Cardinals.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Betancourt will, in fact, ask for his release if he is not given a roster spot tomorrow:

Betancourt’s contract with the Phillies, if purchased, is worth as much as $1.4 million with performance incentives. The Phillies could add him to the roster Sunday and still trade him before opening day. But other teams are aware of the glut of middle infielders and the return would be minimal.

 

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.