The Phillies center field battle is coming right down to the final days of Grapefruit League play with Odubel Herrera making another late push to open the season on the 26-man roster.

Herrera, who is in the Phillies lineup on Sunday, hitting eighth and playing center field, went 3-for-4 with a double and a homer on Saturday.

The challenge with Herrera, who struggled of the past few weeks after a hot start this spring, he is not on the teams 40-man roster. For him to make the Opening Day roster, someone would need to come off the 40-man roster.

What makes things even more challenging is the fact that the Phillies have Matt Joyce and Brandon Kintzler, both seem likely to make the team, who are also not on the 40-man roster.

The battle for center field includes Herrera, Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley.  All three offer different qualities, but it seems only Herrera could truly be the everyday center fielder, with the likely scenario being some sort of platoon.

  • Herrera is batting .255 with four homers and 10 strikeouts
  • Quinn is batting .294 with one home run, three stolen bases and 13 strikeouts
  • Haseley is hitting .250 with one home run.

When talking about the center field situation, Phillies manager Joe Girardi was asked about Quinn's potential role.  Girardi indicated that he had talked to Quinn about a role where he comes into a game, steals a base, or tries to ignite a rally with his legs.

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"That's something he can do probably better than all the other guys," Girardi said this week.

Kingery, Romero sent down to minors

The team announced on Sunday that Scott Kingery would be heading to the minor league camp. Kingery had a tough spring, The 26-year-old was hitting just .159 with one home run and two stolen bases.

 

It appears the team went with veteran Brad Miller over Kingery as utility player and Odubel Herrera in center field.

The team also optioned lefty Jo-Jo Romero to the minor league camp, but expect him to return at some point during the season.  He was having a solid spring and with Tony Watson opting out, Jose Alvarado is the only lefty in the Phillies bullpen

 

Former No. 1 Overall Pick Returns 

Mark Appel was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft.  The Phillies acquired the right handed pitcher from the Houston Astros in the Ken Giles trade in 2015.

The 29-year old is planning on making a comeback and will report to Phillies minor league camp according to Matt Gelb andf Even Drellich of The Athletic.

The 29-year old stepped away from baseball in 2018 after dealing with shoulder and elbow injuries. In 2017, Appeal posted a 5.14 ERA, 1.74 WHIP and 60/53 K/BB ratio over 82 innings at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Bullpen Taking Shape 

Phillies team President Dave Dombrowski told reporters on Saturday the team is down to its final decisions in the bullpen. The essentially have three pitchers for two roster spots.

Joe Girardi did mention recently that he would like two arms that can throw multiple innings out of the bullpen, and singled David Hale out as a guy who can fill that role.

If Hale makes the 26-mam roster, it would seem that Sam Coonrod is the final pitcher in the bullpen, with Vince Velasquez making the team as a swing pitcher, adding depth to the bullpen and being available to start a game if there is a need.

26-Man Roster 

Here is my guess for the 26-man roster and what the Opening Day lineup might look like:

Catchers

J.T. Realmuto
Andre Knapp

Infield

Rhys Hoskins
Jean Segura
Didi Gregorius
Alec Bohm
Brad Miller

Outfield

Andrew McCutchen
Roman Quinn
Bryce Harper
Matt Joyce
Adam Haseley
Odubel Herrera

Pitchers

Aaron Nola
Zach Wheeler
Zack Eflin
Matt Moore
Chase Anderson

Bullpen

Hector Neris
Archie Bradley
Jose Alvarado
Connor Brogdon
Brandon Kintlzer
Vince Velasquez
David Hale
Sam Coonrod

Lineup 

1. Andrew McCutchen, LF
2. J.T Realmuto, C
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Alec Bohm, 3B
6. Didi Gregorius, SS
7. Jean Segura, 2B
8. Odudel Herrera, CF
9. Aaron Nola, RHP

Phillies Major Award Winners Since 1980