Spring training will be in the summer and traveling “south” this preseason will simply mean a trip to South Philadelphia, but the strange baseball season of 2020 inched closer to a return on Sunday night as the Phillies announced their player pool.
The pool, which is the list of players the Phillies plan to use for the 60-game season, can include up to 60 players. The Phillies’ initial pool includes 53, leaving them seven vacancies to fill.
The team will begin training, which the team is calling “Summer Camp,” on Wednesday by splitting their roster between Citizens Bank Park and FDR Park. They will begin a 60-game season on July 23 or 24.
Under league rules, the player pool contains every player on the 40-man roster that the Phillies anticipate to use this season with the rest being non-40-man roster players. The Phillies’ pool contains 35 players on the 40-man roster and 18 players who are not.
Prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm were included in the pool, but Odubel Herrera was not. The Phillies are carrying 23 right-handed pitchers and eight left-handers.
Infielder Arquimedes Gamboa and pitchers Austin Davis, Seranthony Dominguez, Adonis Medina, Christopher Sanchez, and David Robertson are on the 40-man roster but not included in the pool. Dominguez was placed on the 45-day injured list as he awaits Tommy John surgery and Robertson is on the injured list as he recovers from last summer’s Tommy John surgery. Players can be added later to the pool.
The opening-day roster will include 30 players and the other players in the pool will train at the team’s alternate training site, which will likely be Coca-Cola Park in Allentown. The major-league roster will trim to 28 players after the season’s first two weeks and 26 players after two more weeks.
On road trips, the Phillies will be able to carry a three-player “taxi squad” in case a need arises. One of three players must be a catcher. The Phillies have just three catchers in their pool, which means J.T. Realmuto, Andrew Knapp, and Deivy Grullon will be on every road trip.
Earlier Sunday, the Phillies released outfielder Matt Szczur and righthanded reliever Drew Storen as they altered their roster for the first time in three months. There had been a moratorium on transactions since late March as the Major League Baseball season was postponed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Both players were on minor-league deals and releasing them created two openings in the player pool. Szczur, a 30-year-old Villanova product and Cape May native, is trying to return to the majors after a strong season last year with Arizona’s triple-A affiliate. Storen, 32, has not pitched in the majors since having Tommy John surgery in September of 2017.
The Phillies can add players to the pool during the season, but the pool can not exceed 60 players. To make room in the pool, players can only be removed from the pool if they are traded, claimed on waivers, released, outrighted, designated for assignment, placed on the 45-day injured list, placed on the COVID-19 injured list, or suspended. The trade deadline this season is Aug. 31, but the only players who can be traded are those in team’s pools.
Before camp begins, every player and staff member must undergo a coronavirus intake screening at the ballpark. If they test positive for the coronavirus, they will have to immediately self-isolate. They can not rejoin the team until they test negative twice, show no fever or respiratory symptoms for 72 hours and are deemed by a team physician to no longer be a risk of infection to others.
The Phillies had seven players and five staff members test positive earlier this month after an outbreak of the virus at their Clearwater, Fla. training facility. One of the seven players, the team said, was tested positive in a location other than Clearwater.
If a player tests positive for COVID-19 or shows symptoms during the season, they can be placed on the COVID-19 injured list. The list does not have a minimum or maximum length of placement, but a player will remain on the list until they test negative twice.
Right-handed pitchers (23): Víctor Arano, Jake Arrieta, Connor Brogdon, Enyel De Los Santos, Zach Eflin, Édgar García, Deolis Guerra, Spencer Howard, Tommy Hunter, Trevor Kelley, Mauricio Llovera, Reggie McClain, Héctor Neris, Aaron Nola, Bud Norris, Blake Parker, Nick Pivetta, Ramón Rosso, Addison Russ, Connor Seabold, Robert Stock, Vince Velasquez, Zack Wheeler.
Left-handed pitchers (8): José Alvarez, Garrett Cleavinger, Cole Irvin, Damon Jones, Francisco Liriano, Adam Morgan, JoJo Romero, Ranger Suárez.
Catchers (3): Deivy Grullón, Andrew Knapp, J.T. Realmuto.
Infielders (10): Alec Bohm, Logan Forsythe, Phil Gosselin, Didi Gregorius, Josh Harrison, Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Jean Segura, Ronald Torreyes, Neil Walker