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Roman Quinn smacks two doubles as Phillies beat Pirates

More than five months ago, as the Phillies prepared to break spring training in Florida, Roman Quinn was on Matt Klentak's mind. The first-year general manager had seen almost a dozen of his organization's best prospects in camp. He had various reasons to be excited, but Klentak said there was something about Quinn - how a 5-foot-10 dynamo sprayed the outfield with hard-hit balls and zipped around the bases - that warranted special attention.

Roman Quinn gets a Gatorade bath courtesy of teammate Andres Blanco after the Phillies beat the Pirates 6-2 in the series opener . ED HILLE / Staff Photographer.
Roman Quinn gets a Gatorade bath courtesy of teammate Andres Blanco after the Phillies beat the Pirates 6-2 in the series opener . ED HILLE / Staff Photographer.Read moreED HILLE / Staff Photographer

More than five months ago, as the Phillies prepared to break spring training in Florida, Roman Quinn was on Matt Klentak's mind. The first-year general manager had seen almost a dozen of his organization's best prospects in camp. He had various reasons to be excited, but Klentak said there was something about Quinn - how a 5-foot-10 dynamo sprayed the outfield with hard-hit balls and zipped around the bases - that warranted special attention.

That Quinn arrived in the majors Sunday despite another injury-shortened season demonstrated how high the front office is on his potential. There he was Monday, in a 6-2 Phillies win over sinking Pittsburgh, a little late on a Gerrit Cole 96-mph fastball but strong enough to muscle it over the leftfielder's head for a two-run double for his first major-league hit.

"It felt great," Quinn said.

The 23-year-old outfielder is one of the more compelling figures in a season that is 18 games from completion. He will play often - on Monday, he started in right field - with the goal of assessing how his bat and legs measure at big-league pace. Quinn will not win or lose a job for 2017 in September, but first impressions are important.

With the win, started by Jeremy Hellickson, the Phillies surpassed their total from last season.

"I never thought I'd be happy to get a 64th win," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "But it makes me happy at this point."

Ever since Quinn was draft in the second round of the 2011 draft, Phillies officials harbored high hopes. He was a schoolboy shortstop in Florida, moved to center field where his speed played even more, and would have been in the majors sooner had he not lost the equivalent of two seasons of development because of injuries.

He can hit a fastball. And he can run.

Quinn walked in the first inning. He stole second base, but was left there when Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard struck out. His second-inning double, preceded by Freddy Galvis' 18th homer of the season and a Cody Asche run-scoring double, cushioned the Phillies' lead. In the sixth, Quinn outlasted former Phillies lefty Antonio Bastardo and crushed a 3-1 fastball to deep center for another double.

With a decent three weeks, Quinn can add intrigue to a muddled outfield picture. Both Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr have stumbled at the plate. Nick Williams, one of the organization's top prospects, did not merit a September call-up because of a prolonged slump at triple-A Lehigh Valley.

So there are no guarantees for 2017. The Phillies could sign a veteran outfielder - a move that Mackanin has endorsed - or package a few mid-tier prospects further from the majors to acquire a better one that is major-league ready. They could fast-track Dylan Cozens, who homered 41 times at double-A Reading, but the slugger is probably ticketed for Allentown.

Quinn had exclusively played in center until July, when the Phillies had him try both left and right field while in the Gulf Coast League to rehab a rib-cage injury. His arm, which scouts grade as above average, played up in the corners.

He said he will use the extended tryout in the majors to improve his routes in the corners.

"We'll look at the whole picture at the end of the season," Mackanin said. "In the spring, we'll make a decision and see what we've got. See what makes the most sense."

Quinn, Mackanin said, will start again on Tuesday. He will see a sizeable amount of at-bats in September. "It's means a lot," Quinn said. "It's a dream come true." His major-league career is two days old, and the manager had no reason not to play him on the third day.

mgelb@philly.com

@MattGelb

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