Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Phillies are “zeroing in” on Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan to take over as the big club’s manager.
Wathan has managed the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs for one season, where he went 80-62. He has managed at every level in the Phillies organization, with stops at Single-A Williamsport, Single-A Lakewood, Hi-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading before taking over at Lehigh Valley last September. Before his coaching career he spent 14 seasons in the minos as a player, and had a brief cup of coffee with the Kansas City Royals in 2002
Wathan, who is 44, is the son of former Royals manager John Wathan.
There has been no official announcement from the club yet, but it would make a lot of sense to give the job to a man who, over the past several seasons, managed the players the Phillies will count on in the next few years as they climbed the ladder to the bigs.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.