We’re less than a month away from opening day, and the Philadelphia Inquirer will be there from first pitch to Game 162 (and beyond?). Join us for the ride every Thursday with the Extra Innings podcast, hosted by Matt Breen, Bob Brookover and Scott Lauber. Here’s a snippet from this week’s podcast. Listen to the full version embedded below.
Scott Lauber (SL): Bob and I are back home for a few days. And, so I knew we had this podcast today and I was dropping my son off at preschool this morning and his teacher, Ms. Sharon, is a huge, huge ...
Bob Brookover (BB): Wait, what’s your son’s name? Let’s give a shout out to your son.
SL: My son, Jake. So I was dropping him off and his teacher, Ms. Sharon, is a huge, huge Phillies fan. And so she very often asks me about the Phillies when I drop Jake off. And so this morning she asked me, if there are any surprises in camp so far. And to be honest with you, I was a little stumped. I thought about it for 30 seconds or so. And I told her that I don’t know, maybe Roman Quinn, and the fact that we’re talking about him as a potential opening-day center fielder. Maybe that’s a bit of a surprise. But I don’t know that there have been very many real surprises so far. Matt or Bob, what do you guys think?
BB: Go to Matt first 'cause he’s been there. He’s seen more games than any of us.
Matt Breen (MB): My surprise is Kyle Garlick.
SL: That’s a good one.
MB: A guy that was acquired like that first weekend of camp from the Dodgers, kind of an under-the-radar trade, and now he’s looked good at camp. And he had great numbers last year in triple A with the Dodgers. And then once [Andrew] McCutchen’s ruled out, now you really see that path to the major-league roster. Right-handed bench bat, corner outfielder, hits for power. And I think he’s gonna make the team unless he really bottoms out in camp. But so far he’s looked good. He had a hit the other night in the ninth inning against Atlanta, and he gives the team what they need. They need a right-handed bat off the bench. I know Roman Quinn’s a switch-hitter, but this is a legitimate right-handed power bat off the bench. I think he has a real role on this team.
BB: My surprise is the young guys in this camp. Everybody talks about how the Phillies don’t have a great minor-league system, but you know, a kid like Simon Muzziotti has come over from camp and shown some things. Mickey Moniak has played well in his first big-league camp. Or is this the second big-league camp? Was he here last year?
MB: He was here last year.
BB: But he’s gotten more of a look this year. Damon Jones is another one. The young guys have really been given a chance to kind of show themselves a little bit. ... So that’s, that’s what I’d go with.
SL: I like that. I think that’s a good one, too. So we have some answers. I’ll be able to tell her tomorrow that you should watch Kyle Garlick. I’ll have to tell her who he is because I’m not sure that many Phillies fans know much about him yet. I mean, would we be talking much about Kyle Garlick if Andrew McCutchen wasn’t hurt, though?
MB: Probably not just because there was one less bench spot and you needed that. So you were really looking for one and you almost needed that versatility to bounce around the infield. But it’s going to be interesting if he makes the team, has success and then Andrew McCutchen is ready to come back in mid-April, what [the Phillies] do. I mean he can be optioned to triple A, but you might need him on the major-league roster and somebody else might have to go. So it’s interesting. Real quick, who he was, he was a 28th-round pick by the Dodgers, signed for $1,000, spend his offseasons working as a bar back and working on a construction site. I mean this guy ... you know, it’s a guy that Philly’s fans would love to have, would love to root for. He fits that mold and it’s going to be interesting to see if he gets to the majors this year and what kind of role he has and how he takes advantage of it.
SL: I’ll give you a surprise and then, and then we can shut it down from here. I’m going to put a pin in this one 'cause I don’t think it’s a resolved situation by any means yet, but Jean Segura and the third-base experiment is going a little bit better than I expected it might. I thought maybe we’d get to this part of spring training and the Phillies would say, “Ah, you know what? We gave it a shot and you know, he’s going to play second base and Kingery will play third.” But Segura is on track to be the opening-day third baseman. And I didn’t know if we’d get this deep into camp and still say that. So he’s, I believe, still taken almost every rep at third base. He seems to not only be able to do it physically but also he seems to be handling it all right. The idea of playing a position he’s never played before, so I’m a little pleasantly surprised that that’s gone as smoothly so far as it has.
MB: That’s a good one, too.
BB: Look at that, three great ones.