Phillies Use September Roster Spots to Add Nittoli, Sands
The calendar has turned to September. It usually means pumpkin spice added to everything, but in major league baseball that means expanded rosters. The rules have changed and there are just two extra roster spots, compared to a team being able to use their entire 40-man roster. The Phillies used both of them on Thursday.
The Phillies announced Thursday afternoon that they were purchasing the contract of pitcher Vinny Nittoli and catcher Donny Sands.
Nittoli was just acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade. While trades typically cannot take place past the (usually) July 31 trade deadline, they can be made if a player had not appeared in the major leagues that year. Nittoli was a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on paper for just a day before getting the call.
A member of said IronPigs for the season was Sands. Sands was acquired in a trade with the New York Yankees (along with reliever Nick Nelson) this offseason. Sands was hitting an impressive .308 with an .852 OPS in 211 at bats that included a brief rehab stint at Class-A Clearwater.
Sands played himself into a prospect and added to the depth of the Phillies catching position that also includes Rafael Marchan. Marchan will remain with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, despite having appeared for the Phillies briefly this season and last season. It's common for teams to add a third catcher during September, given the demanding nature of the position.
Also remaining at Triple-A is first baseman Darick Hall. Hall has not spent 10 days in the minor leagues since his option. But Hall also is blocked with Bryce Harper back in the designated hitter spot. It remains to be seen if the Phillies will have a place for Hall down the stretch.
Pitcher Michael Plassmeyer impressed during his short stint with the Phillies but is also ineligible to return until 10 days in the minors are up.
Meanwhile, the Phillies could see Zack Wheeler make his next start next week against the Miami Marlins. Zach Eflin continues his rehab and could make a return to the Phillies roster as a reliever. Seranthony Dominguez could be getting close to a return, but likely will make a rehab appearance first before returning to the Phillies roster.