It’s already vote of confidence time in Philadelphia, where general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. praised manager Ryne Sandberg before the Phillies fell to 11-22 with a loss to the Pirates.
I’m happy with the way Ryno has gone about it. He’s on the same page as we are. It’s about giving young players opportunities and teaching them how to win. And that’s what we’re looking for from him, and that’s all we can ask of him. Do whatever he can with his staff to put these players in a position to improve. And that’s what he’s been doing.
Obviously we don’t want to cultivate a culture of losing. We obviously want the very opposite. For me it’s about having guys understand what it takes to win, and trying to play winning baseball. We might be a little challenged as far as overall talent at the major league level right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t play a winning-type of baseball.
Sandberg is now 104-133 since taking over as Phillies manager in mid-2013, but Amaro seems to realize it’d be awfully tough to put the blame on the manager considering his own decision-making over the years.
Also, it would probably be even tougher to find any Phillies fans who agree that the team has been playing “a winning-type of baseball.”
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.