Phils' bullpen battle coming down to the wire

Phils' bullpen battle coming down to the wire

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Entering Spring Training, two or three vacant bullpen spots -- depending on whether manager Pete Mackanin was considering a seven- or eight-man bullpen -- represented about half the question marks for an otherwise decided 25-man roster.

Five weeks later, no decisions on the unclaimed relief spots have been made.

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Ben Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils connect for 12 hits against Red Sox

Phils connect for 12 hits against Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Veteran non-roster invitee Kyle Kendrick continued his impressive Spring Training by allowing two earned runs over six-plus innings, and the Red Sox dueled the Phillies to a 3-3 tie on Saturday at JetBlue Park.

There currently is no rotation vacancy for Kendrick, who will likely start the season at Triple-A. But he has clearly established himself as the starter Boston will call on if a need arises. Kendrick is 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA in Grapefruit League action.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils face tough roster decision with Coghlan

Phils face tough roster decision with Coghlan

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Decision day could be Sunday for the Phillies.

The front office will meet with manager Pete Mackanin and his coaching staff following a Grapefruit League game against the Pirates at Spectrum Field, where the organization could finalize its 25-man roster ahead of Opening Day, on April 3 in Cincinnati. There are three bench jobs and two bullpen jobs available.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Venditte's 'uncanny' arms add new twist to NL

Venditte's 'uncanny' arms add new twist to NL

MESA, Ariz. -- It's the seventh inning, with a runner on base and two outs. The team's down a run with the pitcher's spot due up, and the manager needs to call on a pinch-hitter.

Here's the problem: Whether the skipper sends a right-handed hitter or left-handed hitter, the opposing team has a counter option in the bullpen.

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Fabian Ardaya is a senior majoring in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hellickson's sharp 6 1/3 highlight Phils' effort

Hellickson's sharp 6 1/3 highlight Phils' effort

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees rallied late to grab their 20th victory of the spring, pushing two runs across in the ninth inning to walk off in a 3-2 Grapefruit League win over the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Friday.

Abiatal Avelino led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Michael Mariot, and Wilkin Castillo doubled home Avelino before Trey Amburgey laced the game-winning single to center field. The spring win total marks the Yanks' most since 2009 (24-10-1).

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Phillies on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Goeddel, Thompson optioned by Phillies

Goeddel, Thompson optioned by Phillies

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- With a handful of moves made Friday morning and an impending organizational meeting on Sunday, the Phillies' 25-man roster is nearing completion as the team preps for Opening Day.

The team began the day optioning outfielder Tyler Goeddel and right-hander Jake Thompson to Minor League camp.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Pipeline report: Prospects in Phillies' camp

Pipeline report: Prospects in Phillies' camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camps, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com is visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today we check in on the Philadelphia Phillies.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies went into full-on rebuilding mode in 2015, trading away big league pieces to try and restock a rather thin system. While the ultimate results, in terms of big league turnaround, are still inconclusive, there are clear signs of rebirth down on the farm.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Green's candor, passion leave lasting impact

Green's candor, passion leave lasting impact

Nobody in the game rode taller in the saddle than Dallas Green. Not 6-foot-7 Frank Howard nor 6-foot-11 Jon Rauch. Green was baseball's John Wayne, so upright and rigid and with such a commanding voice. Whatever he lacked vertically -- and he didn't lack much -- was inconsequential. Green compensated for it with stature that was visible, audible and quite palpable. He had presence that commanded recognition and a voice that could fill -- and oftentimes did -- Veterans, Yankee and Shea Stadiums. They didn't call him Big D for his defense. Perhaps it stood for decibels.

Few who were part of the game in the past half-century cut so distinctive a figure as the man who managed the Phillies, Yankees and Mets and was the Cubs' general manager -- all in an 18-year period. He was Dashing Dallas -- silver-haired, 6-foot-5, so vertical. He had a penchant for bright clothing and was readily recognizable from a distance. His volume made him conspicuous from a greater distance. The late Phils coach John Vukovich, one of Green's great pals, once said: "Light travels faster than sound, but not with Big D. You usually hear him before he gets where he's going."

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Marty Noble is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rule 5 pick Milner returned from Tribe

Rule 5 pick Milner returned from Tribe

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Hoby Milner understood the landscape when he stepped into the Indians' clubhouse at the start of this spring. There was only one bullpen spot available and Cleveland already had a pair of skilled veteran lefites on the team in Andrew Miller and Boone Logan.

It was going to take a lot for Milner -- picked by Cleveland in the Rule 5 Draft in December -- to crack the Tribe's Opening Day roster. That possibility officially came to an end Friday, when the Indians returned Milner to the Phillies in exchange for $50,000.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Q&A with Phillies prospect Cornelius Randolph

Q&A with Phillies prospect Cornelius Randolph

As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we'll be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Phillies camp, it was No. 10 prospect Cornelius Randolph.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cornelius Randolph was the Phillies' first-round Draft pick in the 2015 Draft, taken No. 10 overall. The Georgia high school standout had an uneven first full season of pro ball in '16, missing time with a shoulder injury while playing for Lakewood in the Class A South Atlantic League.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baseball renaissance man Green dies at 82

Manager of Phillies' 1980 championship team had MLB career spanning 5-plus decades

Baseball renaissance man Green dies at 82

Dallas Green -- the larger-than-life figure who helped build the Phillies' farm system in the 1970s and then pushed, prodded and occasionally outraged many of the same players on the way to the franchise's first World Series championship in 1980 -- passed away on Wednesday after a long illness. He was 82.

Green became general manager of the Cubs in 1982. Two years later, the team made it to the postseason for the first time since '45. That year, he was named Baseball Executive of the Year by The Sporting News, UPI and ESPN, as well as Chicago's Man of the Year by the Chicago Press Club. Green took on the additional role of team president from '85-87 and became an active proponent of having lights installed at Wrigley Field.

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

Herrera homers, Nola solid for Phils

Herrera homers, Nola solid for Phils

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Baserunning mistakes hampered the Phillies offensive attack, but Aaron Nola rebounded in his longest start of the spring in a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Thursday at Spectrum Field.

"I felt like I could go longer," Nola said. "I felt like I didn't get tired. I'm looking forward to stretching it out next outing."

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Ben Harris is a contributor to MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com reporter risks life, limb to catch hot dog

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MLB.com reporter risks life, limb to catch hot dog

How far would you go for a hot dog? 

It's an important question and one that MLB.com's Todd Zolecki answered for himself, for us and for the rest of the world during Thursday's Phillies-Twins Spring Training game. Here is his firsthand account of his battle with the Phillie Phanatic's famous hot dog cannon in the ninth inning. Take notes, frankfurter aficionados.

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Manuel recalls special, hard-won bond with Green

Manuel recalls special, hard-won bond with Green

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Philadelphia partied hard the night the Phillies won the 2008 World Series.

Back in the Phillies clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, inside the manager's office, away from the players, the music and the fans in the stands, Dallas Green and Charlie Manuel, the only managers in franchise history to win a World Series, chatted quietly.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bowa on Green: 'He did what he had to do'

Bowa on Green: 'He did what he had to do'

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Dallas Green was made for Philadelphia. His quintessential blue-collar attitude and tendency to eschew the niceties sharpened the 1980 Phillies into a World Series champion in just his second year as manager.

"As soon as [the World Series] was over, we all sat down and said, 'You know, Dallas did this,'" Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa said Thursday, one day after the passing of his former manager.

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Ben Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

No rest: Knapp pushing for backup catcher role

Young backstop spoke with Mackanin Wednesday about tough spring

No rest: Knapp pushing for backup catcher role

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Andrew Knapp remains in the hunt to be the Phillies' backup catcher.

He went 1-for-2 with a double in Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Twins in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field. Knapp is hitting .138 (4-for-29) with two doubles, one home run, two RBIs, one walk and 13 strikeouts, but his chances remain alive because the Phillies have 40-man roster constraints and the team's other two backup catching candidates -- Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday -- are not on the 40-man roster.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Velasquez K's 7, but hurt by HRs

Velasquez K's 7, but hurt by HRs

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Greg Bird homered twice and Masahiro Tanaka continued his scoreless spring, keeping the Phillies off the scoreboard for 5 1/3 innings in a 7-3 Yankees win Wednesday at Spectrum Field.

In his longest outing, Tanaka allowed no runs on three hits while striking out three, walking one and hitting a batter. For the spring, he's struck out 22 and walked just three in 18 2/3 innings.

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Ben Harris is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Odubel scratched from lineup with leg cramps

Odubel scratched from lineup with leg cramps

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera should be just fine.

However, the Phils scratched him before Wednesday's 7-3 loss against the Yankees at Spectrum Field because of "cramping" in his legs. Apparently, Herrera cramped up following Tuesday's game against the Twins in Fort Myers.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red light, green light: Drill to help Phils' baserunners

Using Bluetooth-controlled device, Morandini seeking better jumps

Red light, green light: Drill to help Phils' baserunners

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- A rosin bag propped up a Bluetooth-controlled LED light on the half-field mound Wednesday morning at Spectrum Field.

The light is part of a new baserunning drill that Phillies first-base coach Mickey Morandini hopes will get his basestealers to take better jumps and steal more bases.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Actor Teller diehard Phils fan, loves Daulton

'Whiplash' star sits down with MLB.com for Q&A, reflects on favorite memories

Actor Teller diehard Phils fan, loves Daulton

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Actor Miles Teller is a huge Phillies fan and has been coming to Spring Training for years.

Teller and his father, Michael, watched the Phillies play the Yankees on Wednesday afternoon in a 7-3 Grapefruit League loss at Spectrum Field. Teller, who has starred in such movies as "Whiplash," "War Dogs" and "Divergent," grew up in Downingtown, Pa., and Cape May, N.J. He chatted for a few minutes with MLB.com, discussing his favorite Phillies memories and moments.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kendrick makes first spring start at 2B

OF to get reps at multiple positions as roster competition heats up

Kendrick makes first spring start at 2B

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Howie Kendrick's versatility is a big reason why the Phillies acquired him in November.

In fact, it is very likely to influence the look of the Opening Day roster. Kendrick will be the Phillies' Opening Day left fielder, but he played second base for the first time this spring in Tuesday's 9-5 victory over the Twins at Hammond Stadium. He will play a game at third before the end of camp, too.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera, Galvis, late offense key for Phils

Herrera, Galvis, late offense key for Phils

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Jake Thompson threw three scoreless innings, Freddy Galvis hit his first homer of the spring and the Phillies rallied late with a go-ahead RBI single from center fielder Odubel Herrera in the ninth in a 9-5 win over the Twins on Tuesday at Hammond Stadium.

After the Twins scored five runs in the eighth, Philadelphia came back with six runs in the ninth against reliever Buddy Boshers, including a solo homer from Aaron Altherr, a game-tying double from Roman Quinn and Herrera's second RBI of the game. Tommy Joseph capped the scoring with a two-run double after an RBI single from Tyler Goeddel.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morgan not ready to jump to conclusions

Lefty throws three scoreless in game, leads in race for roster spot

Morgan not ready to jump to conclusions

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan learned an important lesson last spring:

Don't try to predict the future.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera has eye on NL batting crown

Center fielder cut down on strikeouts and walked more in 2016

Herrera has eye on NL batting crown

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Odubel Herrera is one of those hitters that could lace a single to center field in his first plate appearance on Opening Day, even if he hadn't picked up a bat since October.

He is a natural hitter, but how much better can he be? Does he see a batting title in his future?

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils are spoiled at short with Galvis, Crawford

Phils are spoiled at short with Galvis, Crawford

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Larry Bowa, one of the two best shortstops the Phillies have ever employed, just shakes his head when he looks at the decision that's looming for the team at his old position.

"It's a great situation for our organization," the bench coach said. "But as individuals, as Freddy Galvis or J.P. Crawford, I'm saying, 'What's going on here?'"

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

Phillies give Hellickson 2nd straight OD start

Phillies give Hellickson 2nd straight OD start

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- For the second straight year, the Phillies will begin the regular season in Cincinnati. And for the second straight year, veteran right-hander Jeremy Hellickson will be the Opening Day starter, manager Pete Mackanin said before Sunday's game, an 8-0 loss against the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park.

First pitch for the April 3 opener is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET.

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

Eickhoff on target, strikes out 9 vs. Rays

Eickhoff on target, strikes out 9 vs. Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff had a strong showing against the Rays on Sunday afternoon, going six innings and allowing two runs on four hits and no walks with nine strikeouts. But, his offense did him no favors, as four Rays pitchers combined to keep the Phillies off the bases until Tommy Joseph's one-out double in the eighth, on the way to an 8-0 Rays win.

Rays left-hander Justin Marks, making his sixth Grapefruit League appearance and first start, went three perfect innings, with two strikeouts. Right-hander Tommy Hunter followed with two perfect innings and Xavier Cedeno went a perfect inning with one strikeout. Danny Farquhar had retired the first four batters he faced before giving up Joseph's double, followed by a walk to Cameron Rupp. In two innings, Farquhar recorded four strikeouts. 

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Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.

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