Goeddel likely to make Opening Day roster

Hunter, Venable vying to earn final spot before Monday's season opener

Goeddel likely to make Opening Day roster

READING, Pa. -- Manager Pete Mackanin on Thursday said the Phillies will wait until the last possible moment to finalize their Opening Day roster.

"We have a real good idea what we want to do. We're just giving it up until the last inning we can play before we set the rosters. It just doesn't hurt to see a couple more games," Mackanin said before the Phillies' 19-4 win in a seven-inning exhibition game against many of their top prospects at FirstEnergy Stadium, home of their Double-A affiliate.

The Phillies will face the Orioles in an exhibition game at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night, then meet their Futures team again on Saturday afternoon before opening the regular season at Cincinnati on Monday.

One of the remaining decisions seems to be which two outfielders from a group of three -- Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Goeddel and non-roster players Cedric Hunter and Will Venable -- will make the final cut.

Even though nothing is official, Mackanin all but admitted Goeddel, who went 2-for-2 with a homer and two runs scored after entering Thursday night's game defensively in the third inning, will be kept.

"For his first Major League camp, at his age [23], I think he was pressing a little bit," Mackanin said. "He started off pretty good, and then he was pressing. All things considered, he's got enough ability and he's a solid defender, which really makes the difference to me.

"He's going to be in the mix. He probably won't be an everyday player, but we've got a guy who has a high upside. But we're going to keep him in the big leagues and hope we get him enough at-bats so that he improves and shows us that he's learned something."

Hunter and Venable started against the Futures team on Thursday night. Hunter went 3-for-5 with a homer, three runs scored and an RBI, while Venable went 2-for-4 with a run and a pair of RBIs.

Mackanin dropped strong hints before the game that Hunter has the inside track.

"He surprised me," the manager said. "I didn't really know much about him. I know he was a perennial .280-plus Triple-A hitter. I didn't know what kind of defender he was, but I found out he's a good defensive player. And I like his aggressive approach at the plate. He gives you quality at-bats and doesn't care if it's lefty or righty.

"One thing that jumps out is he put a hit-and-run on one at-bat when he was hitting. The ball bounced in the dirt and he made contact. Which is a good clue as to what kind of player he is. He was protecting the runner."

Venable was signed to a Minor League contract this week after being released by the Indians.

Asked to compare the two, Mackanin said that would be difficult because he has seen so little of Venable this spring.

"I've seen him in the past," Mackanin said. "Let's put it this way, I really like Cedric Hunter. And I like Will Venable for what he offers. We'll have to make that decision the last day. Let's put it this way, Hunter made a great impression and leave it at that."

The Phillies currently have 36 players on their Major League spring roster.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.