ST. LOUIS — Nick Williams woke up Friday morning to a slew of text messages and news alerts waiting on his cell phone.
"Did you see what happened?," the texts said.
Williams soon did and he was crushed. Friday's school shooting — which killed 10 at a high school near Houston — occurred just 25 minutes from where the Phillies outfielder attended high school. Williams played four sports at Ball High and Santa Fe High, where the shooting happened, was one of their neighboring rivals.
"I had good relationships with guys who played ball there," Williams said. "It's sad. It's sickening, to be honest."
Friday's shooting came just nine months after the same area was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. Williams tracked that news last August as he finished out his rookie season. This too hit home.
"It's crazy. It's all one big disaster," Williams said. "I can't imagine to be honest. It's heartbreaking. My heart and my prayers go out to those families."
Friday's shooting was the 22nd school shooting this year. The Phillies, along with every other MLB team, wore Stoneman Douglas High caps during spring training after a gunman killed 17 people at the high school outside Tampa.
"Nearby, another state, it's still the same. Florida hurt too and I'm not from Florida," Williams said. "It's sad. It's crazy that this can happen to kids and they won't be able to grow up and just live their lives. I couldn't imagine what the parents are going through. I can't imagine."
Alfaro moving up
Gabe Kapler moved Jorge Alfaro to the fifth spot of the lineup on Friday after batting the catcher seventh or eighth in his previous 26 starts this season. Alfaro entered Friday batting .314 this month (11 for 35) with a .768 OPS.
Alfaro's defense seemed to improve greatly over the last few weeks as he has registered five of his seven caught stealings since April 29. His bat — after starting the season with a .163 average in his first 16 games — is following suit.
"The last couple of days there's been a lot of conversations about confidence with players and what is the best way to instill confidence and what happens first: success or confidence," Kapler said. "I think in Alfie's case, he has become more and more confident as the season has progressed and I think it all starts with his athleticism, his overall defense, but definitely with the athleticism he brings to the field everyday, the way he moves around, the power, the agility. That kind of makes you puff your chest out a little bit when you have that type of skill set. It's on par with the most athletic catchers in the game. Without a doubt, he's confident right now."
Jerad Eickhoff will start for triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday in his second rehab start….J.P. Crawford is still in St. Louis after his flight to Florida on Thursday was delayed and then cancelled due to weather. Crawford, who is working his way back from a strained right forearm, will rehab here with the Phillies before trying to fly to Florida in the next few days and begin a formal rehab assignment in extended spring training…Righthanded reliever Victor Arano, on the disabled list with a strained rotator cuff, joined the team in St. Louis but was not activated from the disabled list. That could happen Saturday…Zach Eflin starts for the Phillies on Saturday.