ON THE FINAL Sunday of spring training, Kevin Frandsen was oddly summoned into the manager's office following a 5-1 exhibition win over the Minnesota Twins. When he walked out and down the hallway several minutes later, Frandsen looked as if he had seen a ghost.
But the shock of being outrighted to Triple A and off the Phillies' 40-man roster soon turned into a different emotion.
"I was pissed," Frandsen said yesterday, when the Washington Nationals arrived at Citizens Bank Park for the first time in 2014 with the former Phillies utility infielder on their bench.
Frandsen avoided arbitration and signed a 1-year, $900,000 contract with the Phillies in January. But a little more than 2 months later, he had become a roster casualty at the end of the spring, when the Phillies needed an infielder capable of playing shortstop for their bench.
Reserve infielder Freddy Galvis had been diagnosed with a MRSA infection 2 days earlier. The Phillies eventually signed veteran infielder Jayson Nix to fulfill that role before Opening Day.
Nix entered yesterday hitting .161 with a .446 OPS in 12 games. Frandsen, who hasn't played a game at shortstop since 2009, was batting .289 with a .714 OPS in 21 games with Washington.
"We needed someone to play shortstop - shortstop, second, third - a versatile guy like Freddy to start the season," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of the roster move. "I'm happy to see he's in the big leagues. That's a decision he made, and someone picked him up, so it was good for him."
Although Frandsen smirked when asked whether he possibly circled his first games against the Phillies on his calendar, he appeared to be over his initial disappointment. He said he was grateful the Phillies gave him an opportunity when they signed him to a minor league contract in 2011.
After playing three seasons with Sandberg -- two at Triple A Lehigh Valley and another with the Phillies last season - Frandsen is very close to the Phillies manager and said he had no hard feelings for anyone on the coaching staff.
He blamed the "management side" of the decision-making process.
"I knew where I stood with Ryno and Bo [Larry Bowa], and all those guys, and Hendu [hitting coach Steve Henderson]," Frandsen said. "But I was pissed. If they thought I was roster flexibility, that's what they thought. But I didn't think that of myself. I earned my way to being on the bench, to being a vital part over there."
Frandsen, who turns 32 later this month, first earned his way onto the Phillies bench in the final 2 months of the 2012 season. After starting third baseman Placido Polanco became injured, Frandsen played in 55 games (49 starts) and hit .338 with an .834 OPS.
But the Phillies decided they needed a more proven player at the position that winter and traded for veteran Michael Young. Frandsen was on the bench for the duration of the 2013 season with the Phillies, but hit .232 in 52 starts.
Frandsen laughed when he was asked whether he could have helped the Phillies in their current predicament: They entered yesterday with their third basemen hitting .160 with a .478 OPS.
"I think I could have helped last year . . . just from what I did the year before [in 2012]," he said. "I never got an opportunity to [help]. It sucks, because I want Cody [Asche] to do well. I really want him to do well. As a fan, as a buddy, as a friend of his. I hope things turn around, maybe not this weekend, but soon after, that'd be great."
Back when he was removed from the 40-man roster, Frandsen had a chance to accept an assignment to Triple A. If he did that, Frandsen would have still received $900,000 from the Phillies and also have a chance to rejoin the team at some point in 2014.
Instead he opted for free agency, forfeiting his contract. But only a few days after his Phillies career ended, Frandsen received the same guaranteed money with the Nationals - and a place on their big-league roster.
"We're four games over .500 here, and I'm loving that," Frandsen said. "I'm loving winning."