CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies’ spring-training clubhouse will soon be a bit more cramped as the team has agreed to terms with reliever Tommy Hunter, who will become the 70th player on the spring roster.
Hunter, 33, had surgery in July to repair the flexor tendon in his right arm after pitching in just five games last season for the Phillies. The team signed him before the 2018 season to a two-year contract worth $18 million, but he spent the majority of the final year of the deal on the injured list.
A season earlier, he was the Phillies second-most used reliever and posted a 3.80 ERA in 64 innings. But that workload may have caught up with Hunter in 2019. The Phillies are hoping he can rebound.
The team’s pitchers and catchers will report to camp on Tuesday and Joe Girardi will have a morning news conference. The position players report on Sunday and the team’s first full-squad workout is Monday. The Phillies will begin Grapefruit League play on Feb. 22. Hunter’s deal — which was first reported by MLB.com and could be a major-league contract — will likely not be finished in time for him to report on Tuesday.
When Hunter does report, he’ll find a clubhouse full of relievers who also are trying to keep their careers churning with the Phillies. Hunter is the sixth veteran reliever the Phillies signed this offseason as they try to fill the final spots of their eight-man bullpen.
Drew Storen has not pitched in the majors since 2017 and Bud Norris did not throw a pitch last season after being cut by Toronto in spring training. Anthony Swarzak had a 4.56 ERA last season, Blake Parker posted a 5.04 ERA upon joining the Phillies in August, and left-hander Francisco Liriano could be affected by baseball’s new three-batter minimum rule.