It's Alec Bohm time.
Four days after touted pitcher Spencer Howard made his major-league debut, the Phillies called up top prospect Alec Bohm from the satellite camp in Lehigh Valley, the club announced Thursday. Bohm will take the roster spot occupied by outfielder Adam Haseley, who went on the injured list with a sprained left wrist.
Bohm was scheduled to bat sixth and play third base Thursday in a series finale against the Baltimore Orioles at Citizens Bank Park.
Manager Joe Girardi said last week that the Phillies wouldn’t promote Bohm unless he had a chance to play “almost every day.” And general manager Matt Klentak said Thursday that the plan is to get the 24-year-old regular at-bats, primarily at third base.
“The plan is that he’s going to play regularly,” Klentak said. “If we’re going to call up a player like Alec, we want him to play every day. With Adam Haseley going on the IL today, that opens up some regular reps for us.”
There are many ways for that to happen.
Second baseman Scott Kingery, off to a 4-for-40 start, will return to a utility role, according to Klentak. With Haseley sidelined until at least Aug. 22, Roman Quinn is the only center fielder on the roster. Kingery could see action in center field, in addition to second base.
When Kingery plays the outfield, third baseman Jean Segura will slide to second base, opening time for Bohm. The Phillies can also make use of the designated-hitter spot to get at-bats for Bohm.
“We want Alec to play regularly. We think he’s that kind of player. You know his track record in the minor leagues and you’ve seen him in both the spring training and the summer camp. He’s a hitter. We do think he can help our lineup."
Haseley was injured Tuesday night when he collided in the baseline with Orioles first baseman Chris Davis. X-rays were negative and an MRI didn’t reveal structural damage. But Haseley has been unable to play through soreness.
Bohm, the third overall pick in the 2018 draft, hit 21 home runs and slugged .518 in 2019 across three minor-league levels. The 24-year-old ended the season at double-A Reading, where he belted 14 homers and slugged .500 in 238 at-bats.
“His plate discipline is unbelievable,” Phillies minor-league director Josh Bonifay said last winter. “He has a very good understanding of the strike zone. He doesn’t chase too much. He’s got a compact stroke, which is really good, and he hits a fastball the other way if he needs to. If he wants to pull it, he can pull it. But he can stay out over the middle of the plate, which allows him to do a lot of stuff with off-speed [pitches] and pull the breaking balls.”
Bohm’s defense has been a source of debate among talent evaluators. But the Phillies have seen enough improvement over the last two years that they believe he can remain at third base in the majors.
And at a time when the Phillies are struggling as a team to hit with runners in scoring position (22-for-100 through 13 games), Klentak believes Bohm’s bat could add punch to the lineup.
“As much as anything, we think he’s earned it,” Klentak said. “Now that our roster allows for him to come up and play every day, we think it’s a good opportunity for him.”