Phillies Name Vince Velasquez Fifth Starter, Cut Several Players from Camp
The Phillies started making some of their 2016 roster decisions today as the team officially named their fifth starter in their opening starting rotation. Adam Morgan and newcomer Vince Velasquez were battling the for the final spot. Looking at the 2016 Spring Training numbers, the one with slightly better numbers did not win. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that Velasquez has beaten out Morgan for the starting role.
Surprisingly, the Phillies did not consider a bullpen spot for Morgan. Morgan was optioned to AAA Lehigh Valley. The Phillies optioned left-handed pitchers Elvis Araujo to AAA Lehigh Valley and sent left-handed pitcher Bobby LaFromboise to minor league camp. That leaves Rule 5 pick Daniel Stumpf and non-roster invitee James Russell as remaining left-handed options. Mario Hollands has yet to throw this Spring, recovering from Tommy John surgery.
In a somewhat surprising move, Luis Garcia and Darnell Sweeney were also optioned to AAA Lehigh Valley. The two moves make room for two non-roster invitees to make the Phillies roster. The Phillies have right-handed relievers Andrew Bailey, Edward Mujica, and Ernesto Frieri in camp as non-roster invitees.
Sweeney's demotion means that the Phillies have room for someone among Cedric Hunter, David Lough, Ryan Jackson or Manny Burriss, depending on whether the Phillies will consider Darin Ruf for some outfield time while Cody Asche and Aaron Altherr are out with injuries. Andres Blanco is a lock for the Phillies bench, while Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel may get starting time in the outfield.
Also sent to minor league camp according to Zolecki: catcher Logan Moore, infielder Angelys Nina, right-handed reliever Reinier Roibal, and reliever Chris Leroux.