The Phillies began Tuesday with a clubhouse meeting hours after Odubel Herrera was arrested and charged with simple assault in Atlantic City. They ended it with a gritty win against a tough team.
Nick Pivetta showed resolve, the bullpen did its job, Cesar Hernandez homered, and Bryce Harper had a pair of doubles against the Cardinals. The Phillies had a win, but it was not enough to overshadow the ugliness they discussed in the afternoon.
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Matt Klentak was in a meeting for next week’s MLB draft when his phone buzzed. It was Bonnie Clark, the Phillies’ vice president of communications. Klentak, not wanting to leave the room, ignored the call and sent Clark a text message.
“I said, 'Can I call you during a break?,’ ” Klentak said. “She said, ‘No, it’s urgent.’ ”
That is how the Phillies found themselves Tuesday morning with a decision that could define a franchise. Odubel Herrera, Clark told Klentak, had been arrested in Atlantic City and charged with simple assault for an alleged incident of domestic violence against his 20-year-old girlfriend.
The Phillies did not have a decision to make Tuesday. Major League Baseball is conducting an investigation, and Herrera, who has a court date on June 17, is off the roster for at least a week. The Phillies, as they should, are waiting for more information.
But they will soon have a decision to make. The police report said the alleged victim had “visible signs of injury to her arms and neck that was sustained after being assaulted by her boyfriend.” If MLB’s investigation, or Atlantic City’s municipal court, confirms that those visible signs of injury were caused by Herrera, then the Phillies must release him.
Forget about the suspension Herrera would receive from Major League Baseball. If Herrera is guilty of domestic violence, there should be no place for him in a Phillies uniform. It shouldn’t matter that he is owed $24 million. Or that he was an All-Star three years ago. Or that he was the team’s opening-day center fielder and expected to play a key role in a key season.
If Herrera assaulted his girlfriend, the Phillies will have a decision to make that defines them. What message would that send if Herrera goes away for 40 games but then steps back to the plate at Citizens Bank Park? It’s easy to imagine the message the crowd would send back.
The Phillies did the right thing Tuesday. They called MLB after the Atlantic City Police Department alerted them that Herrera had been arrested. They said they were allowing the league to conduct an investigation. “There is no playbook for this,” Klentak said. Sometime soon, the investigation will be finished. The Phillies will have a decision to make.
“I can speak for myself and say it’s deeply disturbing,” manager Gabe Kapler said. "It’s not something you want to be dealing with. I’m personally not feeling great about it right now. "
Herrera will not play a game for the Phillies for at least a week, but his long-term future with the team might be even less certain, Scott Lauber writes. General manager Matt Klentak said that it is “premature to speculate at this point” if Herrera will ever play again for the Phillies after his arrest Monday night on domestic violence charges.
Scott Kingery and Nick Williams will receive more playing time while Herrera is away from the team. Kingery started Tuesday night at third base, Nick Williams played in left, and Andrew McCutchen moved to center.
Meet Baseball’s Odd Couple. Bob Brookover tells a great story about how Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel have become great friends in recent years. The former Phillies managers work together in the front office and spend a lot of time driving to minor-league affiliates to scout future Phillies.
Pat Neshek thought his career was over Friday when he felt pain in his shoulder. He later learned it was just inflammation and not a tear. Neshek expects to return this season but is not sure how long he’ll be out.
Tonight: Aaron Nola faces left-hander Genesis Cabrera, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Jerad Eickhoff starts series finale against right-hander Dakota Hudson, 1:05 p.m.
Friday: Phillies open a three-game series at Dodger Stadium, 10:10 p.m.
Monday: The Phillies have the 14th pick in the MLB draft, 7 p.m.
Genesis Cabrera, a 22-year-old left-hander from the Dominican Republic, will start Wednesday night for the Cardinals and become the 32nd pitcher since 1995 to make his major-league debut with a start against the Phillies.
The list includes some notable names: Tim Lincecum, John Lannan, Esteban Loaiza, Carl Pavano, Julio Teheran, and former Phillies starter Jerome Williams. History favors the Phillies as the 31 pitchers have combined for a 4.83 ERA, which is even lower than the 6.35 ERA Cabrera posted this season in nine games at triple A.
Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.
Question: How close is Roman Quinn to coming back? — Greg S. via email.
Answer: Quinn took batting practice before Tuesday’s game and worked out with the team a few times during the last road trip. He is expected to begin a rehab assignment this weekend when the Phillies travel to the West Coast. If all goes well, Quinn should be able to join the Phillies around the middle of June.