Roman Quinn remains in the running to be the Phillies’ opening-day center fielder. But if he doesn’t win the job, he made a case Sunday for a spot on the bench.
With the Phillies trailing by two runs in the seventh inning, Quinn entered as a pinch-runner for Darick Hall. He promptly stole third base, then scored on a groundout, showing the speed that makes him one of the fastest players in the majors.
“You look at everyone’s tools, that’s a tool and a talent that he has that everybody doesn’t have,” manager Joe Girardi said after a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers in Clearwater, Fla. “It could be an advantage. That’s something that ‘Q’ can do probably better than all the other guys.”
Quinn, who can’t be sent to the minors without clearing waivers, is 8-for-25 (.320) with two doubles this spring. After striking out eight times in his first 18 plate appearances, he has fanned only once in his last eight.
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“The big thing for ‘Q’ is to find a way to put the ball in play and take your chances,” Girardi said. “I think he’s done a much better job of that.”
Quinn continues to compete with Odúbel Herrera and Scott Kingery. Adam Haseley is ahead of schedule in his return from a groin strain and could play in games this week, according to Girardi.
Herrera went 1-for-4 against the Tigers and is 7-for-29 (.241) for the spring.
It doesn’t figure to have much bearing on his status in the rotation, but No. 5 starter Chase Anderson gave up two-run home runs to Akil Baddoo in the third inning and Niko Goodrum in the fourth.
“Just a couple missed locations,” Anderson said. “I was working on a few things out of the stretch and still trying to fight that. But, overall, I thought my stuff was really good. Making good pitches. Just got to kind of get a grasp out of the stretch to get better location with my pitches.”
Sam Coonrod, JoJo Romero, and Héctor Rondón each had a scoreless outing in the ongoing competition for spots in the bullpen. Coonrod and Romero have options that allow them to be sent to the minors without being exposed to waivers.
The bullpen picture will come into focus this week, as Brandon Kintzler, Tony Watson, and Rondón can exercise opt-out clauses Thursday. Kintzler and Watson, in particular, seem to have a solid chance of making the team.
Matt Joyce has had a strong spring training and likely will make the team as a left-handed bat off the bench. But he grounded into a rally-killing double play in the third inning against Tigers lefty Derek Holland.
The Phillies went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.
Alec Bohm fought off a two-strike curveball to deliver a single to left field in the third inning. Bohm is 10-for-31 (.323) this spring.
The Phillies will travel back across Tampa Bay to face the New York Yankees at 6:35 p.m. Monday. Aaron Nola is scheduled to face Yankees right-hander Jameson Taillon. The game will be televised by MLB Network.