2023 WBC: Phils’ Pitcher Taijuan Walker Dazzles for Mexico

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Not all pitching news is doom and gloom for the Philadelphia Phillies this Spring!  Free agent acquisition Taijuan Walker had a dominant night on the mound for the Mexican National Team on Tuesday night in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.  The 30-year-old struck out eight and scattered one hit and one walk over four-innings leading Mexico to a 2-1 win over Great Britain.  

Walker’s eight strikeouts set a Mexican National Team single-game record for K’s in the World Baseball Classic.  The outing included Walker striking out five Brits in a row at one point. It was the first time Walker pitched for the Mexican national team.  Walker’s mother is of Mexican descent making him eligible to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.  

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Phillies Spring Training: Phils’ Rule 5 Draft Pick Shutdown

Feb 23, 2023; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Noah Song during photo day at BayCare Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

More pitching woes have hit Clearwater.  Philadelphia Phillies Rule 5 Draft Pick Noah Song, who was recently reclassified by the United States Navy, is the latest pitcher to get bit by the injury bug.  

Song, 25, has been shut down by the team with back tightness and will likely be placed on the injured list when the season starts.  The righty has not pitched regularly for the past three years due to his military service forcing the Phils’ to take things slow with the Rule 5 pick.  Song will be placed back on the “Military List” and will be moved to the injured list when the season begins.  

As a Rule 5 Draft pick, the Phillies must keep Song on the active roster for at least 90-days or he needs to be offered back to Boston. Time on the injured list or on a rehab assignment doesn’t count towards Song’s time. 

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Phillies Spring Training: Ranger Suarez Returns from 2023 World Baseball Classic

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ranger Suarez has left Team Venezuela and the 2023 World Baseball Classic after experiencing tightness in his left forearm. The righty will be shut down for a few days before trying to continue his throwing program. 

Relax, the Phillies and Suarez believe this is nothing more than a slight hiccup. 

The 27-year old didn’t receive an MRI exam because “it’s not a big deal,” according to Suarez.  

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Phillies Spring Training: Andrew Painter Diagnosed With UCL Sprain

It looks like the Philadelphia Phillies have dodged a bullet. Top prospect Andrew Painter underwent an MRI on March 3rd for his sore right elbow.  The imaging showed a sprained ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and the diagnosis was confirmed by renowned surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache.  

The good news, Painter should be able to avoid Tommy John surgery.  

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Phillies Spring Training: Bryce Harper Expected in Camp This Week

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies are expecting All-Star Bryce Harper to report to Spring Training on Wednesday.  

Harper is currently rehabbing from late-November Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.  The 30-year old was forced to play the majority of the season as the Phils’ designated hitter after injuring his elbow last Spring.  Despite the elbow injury –and a subsequent trip to the DL with a broken hand– Harper slashed .286/.364/.514 with 18 HR, 65 RBI, and a .877 OPS helping propel the Phillies to the National League pennant.  

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Phillies Spring Training: Rhys Hoskins Underwent Meniscus Surgery in the Offseason

 Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins has been noticeably absent from Spring Training, now we know why.  

According to The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Hoskins quietly underwent offseason meniscus surgery to clear up some “wear and tear” on his right knee.  The 29-year old has been cleared for baseball activities and is expected in the Phils’ lineup this weekend. 

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Phillies Rule 5 Draft Pick Set to Report to Clearwater

Noah Song. Image: United States Naval Academy Baseball

Philadelphia Phillies Rule 5 Draft pick Noah Song has been transferred by the United States Navy from active duty to select reserves allowing the 25-year old to pursue his baseball career.

A product of the United States Naval Academy, Song was originally selected in the 4th round of the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Boston Red Sox. Scouts projected Song as a potential first round draft pick if it weren’t for his commitment to the Navy.  The righty pitched in seven games for the Single-A Lowell Spinners in 2019 registering a 1.06 ERA with 19 K, 5 BB, and a.882 WHIP.  The Navy came calling immediately following the 2019 season, ordering Song to report to flight school. 

Current Phillies’ president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was instrumental in drafting Song during his time with Boston.  

Per MLB Rule 5 Draft rules, Song will have to be placed on the active roster and stay there all season or placed on waivers and offered back to Boston if he clears waivers.  Song is not currently on the 40-man roster however the Phillies will need to add him prior to first pitch on Opening Day.  

It’s a fascinating storyline to follow as Spring Training kicks into high gear.

Kevin Stocker Appears to be the Winner of the Phillies Radio Broadcaster Royal Rumble

Ladies and gentlemen, it appears as though we have a winner of the 2022 Phillies radio broadcaster Royal Rumble! 

While there has been no official word from the Phillies, MLB.com scribe Todd Zolecki let the cat out of the bag in the last few sentences on a recent piece about Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen’s charity beer initiative. (The article is worth your time, check it out here.)

“Andersen is not only back, but he will be broadcasting around 60 home games this season, which is more than last year. Kevin Stocker will be Franzke’s analyst for the remaining home games, plus 81 road games. Stocker had been in a four-man rotation last season with Michael Bourn, Chad Durbin, and Erik Kratz.”

Todd Zolecki via Phillies.com
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Phillies Sign Free Agent Reliever Craig Kimbrel

It’s a Festivus Miracle!

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a deal with free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel. The length and dollars on the deal have not been reported. The deal is a one-year deal worth a reported $10 million.

Kimbrel , 34, spent the 2022 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He appeared in 63-games for LA posting a 3.75 ERA, a 1.317 WHIP, and 22 saves in 60 innings pitched.

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