Phils, Pigs already see plenty of moves
In a perfect world, a player like Phil Gosselin would have likely spent the entire season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Unfortunately, a perfect world doesn’t exist and Gosselin had to be added to the 40-man roster before the first month of the season was even complete.
Injuries to starting Phillies shortstop Jean Segura and his backup, Scott Kingery, made the Phillies consider who was next up to make the trip down the turnpike to join the Phillies.
Gosselin, who was signed during the offseason as infield insurance for the Phillies, was the easy call to make. The 30-year old was hitting .419 in 10 games with Lehigh Valley and had six RBIs through the early part of the season. The stats, combined with the fact that he has pretty extensive major league experience, showed exactly why the Phillies added Gosselin over the winter.
“He was playing really well for us and he’s enough of a veteran that he knows that even though some things were going to have to happen for him to make it back to the majors, all he could do was play hard here and be ready,” said Lehigh Valley manager Gary Jones. “He was ready when he got the call.”
Also ready was third baseman Mitch Walding, who wasn’t hitting as well as Gosselin, but is already on the 40-man roster, so the Phillies again had an easy call when they needed even more help on the infield. Walding made his major league debut late last May and struggled mightily through 13 games with the Phillies, batting just .059 (1-for-17) with 12 strikeouts. On the bright side, that one hit was Walding’s first major league home run.
“He’s been very good with runners in scoring position, good with runners on base,” said Jones. “Even in spring training I saw a difference in his swing path and his approach and he’s using more of the middle of the field. He’s been hitting some line drives to left field and that bodes well for him at the next level. The biggest thing is just stay in the strike zone and he’ll be fine.”
Fortunately, the Phillies had Roman Quinn ready to come off the disabled list when center fielder Odubel Herrera went on the IL, so that move was easy. Without Quinn, the Phillies would have had to look to add another player to the 40-man roster because ‘Pigs outfielder Dylan Cozens has been battling a bad foot that has kept him out of the lineup since Friday, although he figures on being able to play this week.
Starter Jerad Eickhoff was recalled earlier than expected last week when the Phillies first needed an extra arm in the bullpen. As it turned out, Nick Pivetta struggled on the day that Eickhoff arrived and threw just five innings against the Mets before Eickhoff entered and finished the game with four shutout innings to record a save. After the game, the Phillies optioned Pivetta to Lehigh Valley and added Eickhoff to the rotation in his place.
Pitchers Drew Anderson and Austin Davis also made the move up to the big leagues. Both were summoned in part because of an injury to Victor Arano and an over taxed bullpen that needed some fresh arms. Both have pitched in the majors before. In their recent stints with the Phillies, Anderson has thrown two shutout innings and has allowed just two walks, one of which was intentional. Davis has surrendered three hits and two walks in two innings, but hasn’t allowed a run to cross the plate and has three strikeouts in his two innings of work.
STREAKING… Deivy Grullon has adjusted well to baseball at the Triple-A level. Grullon has reached base in his first 11 games with Lehigh Valley and has hits in his last seven games. Grullon, who won the Double-A Eastern League Home Run Derby last summer, has two home runs for Lehigh Valley to go along with eight RBI and a .395 average through the early going.
DEMILITARIZED ZONE... Now in their 12th season at Coca-Cola Park, the IronPigs have yet to have a full-blown bench clearing brawl at home. They came close Friday when Damek Tomscha was hit in the head with a pitch and got into a shouting match with pitcher Kohl Stewart. Both benches and bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown. Both teams were given warnings, but the umpires neglected to eject Lehigh Valley’s Yacksel Rios when he hit Drew Maggi with a pitch later in the game.