Report: Phillies Will Call Upon Mitch Walding for Infield
With the Phillies down utility player Pedro Florimon after he suffered a broken ankle during Tuesday night's game in Los Angeles, the club had to reach outside of their 40-man roster to find a suitable replacement. Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports that the roster spot will go to third baseman Mitch Walding. Walding was batting .271 with seven home runs and 21 runs batted in for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Walding has never been considered much of a prospect, but has has shown improvement in recent seasons in the Phillies system. Walding actually completed his full rookie contract with the Phillies, having spent 2011 after the draft through 2017 in the Phillies system. This offseason the Phillies re-signed Walding to a minor league contract and gave him an opportunity to spend time with the big club at Spring Training.
With Double-A Reading last season, Walding hit 25 home runs, but batted just .236 for the Fightin' Phils. Walding struck out 127 times in 351 at bats. But Walding has improved in 2018, batting .271. His strikeout rate is about the same, but the increased production helps make up for some of that.
Walding will give the Phillies a temporary left-handed bat on the bench. The move is likely temporary because Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford began a rehab assignment at Class-A Clearwater last night. Crawford went 0 for 3 before being replaced at shortstop by Arquimedes Gamboa. A position player's rehab assignment may last as many as 20 days.
The move means Walding will be added to the 40-man roster. To make room the Phillies could move either starter Jerad Eickhoff or reliever Pat Neshek to the 60-day disabled list. Either player would be eligible to return from the the 60-day disabled list if healthy since the time has passed, but neither player appears to have an imminent return.