The Phillies announced on Wednesday that the club signed veteran catcher Ryan Hanigan to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Hanigan, 36, spent the past season as the back-up catcher for the Red Sox. He hit an unimpressive .171/.230/.238 with five extra-base hits and 14 RBI in 113 plate appearances.
The Phillies already have a fair amount of catching depth with Cameron Rupp starting followed by prospects Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro. Bryan Holaday, Logan Moore, and Chace Numata will also be in camp as non-roster invitees. The odds are against Hanigan joining the big league team out of spring training, but he could sell himself to other teams with a backup catching need with a strong spring showing.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.