Rob Thomson on Bryce Harper, closer choices, fifth starter

PHILADELPHIA — Rob Thomson hung out this offseason at dwelling in Ontario, Canada, having fun with his household and watching hockey. But a baseball man can solely sit within the chilly for thus lengthy.

Thomson is prepared for sunshine. He mentioned Wednesday that he can be at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Fla., earlier than the tip of the month. Phillies pitchers and catchers maintain their first official exercise on the Carpenter Complex on Feb. 16

Thomson answered a couple of questions concerning the crew earlier than he received there.

Bryce Harper
The Phillies provided a conservative timetable for Harper’s return from Tommy John surgical procedure, saying someday across the All-Star break in July. Others assume he might return earlier.

“He’s nonetheless gentle rehab, gentle conditioning,” Thomson mentioned. “I believe they’re going to begin ramping it up in the direction of the tip of March. No useful work but.”

The ninth inning
Thomson plans to make use of his bullpen like final season, with no official closer.

“Unless someone steps up and is simply fully dominant,” he mentioned. “But I believe you are going to have to offer guys days off, so having the depth in that bullpen is basically massive. I believe it labored fairly nicely final 12 months with the best way we did it.”

Thomson definitely has choices, with Seranthony Domínguez, José Alvarado, Craig Kimbrel and Gregory Soto on the high of the checklist.

Roster battles
Unquestionably, the most important roster battle this spring would be the No. 5 starters. no 1 prospect Andrew Painter has a official likelihood to make the crew. Left-handers Bailey Falter and Cristopher Sánchez will attempt to beat him out.

There are different roster battles. The Phillies traded Matt Vierling and Nick Maton this month to assist purchase Soto. Presumably, it makes three bench jobs accessible, assuming catcher Garrett Stubbs and infielder Edmundo Sosa are wholesome. Utility gamers Dalton Guthrie and Kody Clemens, outfielder Jake Cave and first baseman Darick Hall are maybe the 4 high contenders for these spots.

“I really feel actually good about our steadiness and our utility individuals,” Thomson mentioned.

The skipper additionally famous that non-roster invitee Scott Kingery will get one other look. He is within the remaining 12 months of a six-year, $24 million contract.

“Scotty is a extremely gifted man,” Thomson mentioned. “He received a bit sideways there for a bit bit. Maybe we will get him again and get him going.”

Thomson mentioned there may be in all probability one job accessible in a projected eight-man bullpen that figures to incorporate Soto, Domínguez, Alvarado, Kimbrel, Matt Strahm, Connor Brogdon and Andrew Bellatti.

“It’s going to be a deep camp,” Thomson mentioned.

Thomson was requested about being again in Philly with the Eagles starting what they hope can be a Super Bowl run.

“What an important sports activities city,” he mentioned. “I noticed the opposite day on some web site that that is the Nineteenth-best sports activities city within the nation. I query that. I actually do. With lacrosse and soccer and the 4 main sports activities, it is a nice sports activities city crammed with nice followers.”

Speaking of rankings
Another web site ( just lately named Thomson the second handsomest supervisor in baseball.

How does he really feel about these rankings?

“I informed my spouse,” Thomson mentioned, smiling. “I got here out and I mentioned, ‘Hey, hear, Michele, you know the way fortunate you might be. I’m the second-most good-looking [manager]. She was cooking dinner. She did not miss a beat. She circled and he or she mentioned, ‘Well, all people else should have been tied for first.'”

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