Philadelphia (AP) Brandon Marsh knows his way around not one or two colds — but four! Phillies celebrate on their way to the World Series.
So when the 25-year-old found himself on the big screen this week at a Flyers game, Marsh obliged the crowd in a beer-throwing standing ovation. Indulging in the experience with a two-seat smile to Marsh’s right, Phillies manager Rob Thompson.
All the Phillies have to worry about now is hangover.
No, not from a night out at the hockey game, but from the malaise after a successful season,
Thompson, who is starting his first full season as a coach, isn’t afraid of a lack of focus. While it was great to make a World Series, it wouldn’t top the thrill of winning one.
“They’re having fun, but they’re not messing around,” Thompson said. “They act like professionals.”
The Phillies likely won’t have NL Championship Series MVP Bryce Harper until soon after his All-Star break following surgery on his right elbow in late November. Harper, 30, tore a small ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in April. Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series championship since 2009, losing in six games to Houston. 349 with six homers and 13 RBI in 17 postseason games.
Thompson said Harper is undergoing light rehab until late March.
“More than anything else, there are no functional exercises,” Thompson said Wednesday.
Good thing the Phillies had a Plan B.
Among a series of moves this season that included getting two-time All-Star Gregory Soto and eight-time All-Star Craig Kimbrell to bolster the Bulls, there was no bigger splash than the addition of Trea Turner. The Phillies signed the shortstop star to an 11-year, $300 million contract. Turner hit . 298 with 21 homers and 100 RBIs last year in his only full season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I think he will fit in with this club,” said Thompson. “He can do everything on the field.”
Despite this, Turner will have his first spring training with the Phillies due to the World Baseball Classic. While the rosters haven’t been set, Gold Glove catcher JT Realmuto and local NL champion Kyle Schwarber said they will play in the Nationals. Towers Ranger Suarez, Jose Alvarado and Seranthon Dominguez want to join their country, as do backup catcher Garrett Stubbs and rookie Taejuan Walker.
The outages will come during spring training as teams adjust to the stadium clock and limit defensive turnovers. Thompson said he was more concerned about the ballpark clock.
“Just because a lot of guys aren’t used to it,” Thompson said. There will be some frustrating times. So I’m glad that since the first game of spring training, we’ll be using it until they can get comfortable with it and get their body clock accustomed to it.”
Thompson said he will be sending rule reminders next week to the team next week.
“I hate being disappointed,” said Thompson. “It takes away from locking people up and performing at the highest level.”
The Phillies won just 87 games in the NL East before tearing apart the Cardinals, Braves and Padres in the postseason. The Mets have won 101 games and added three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, the Braves have won 101 games and have a young core linked to long-term deals.
“And you can never leave Miami out,” Thompson added.
How good was that for Thompson? According to one poll, he was ranked as the second most handsome manager in baseball.
“I told my wife, I said, ‘Listen, Michelle, you know you’re lucky? I’m the second most handsome manager in baseball,'” Thompson said, laughing.
Thompson, Marsh, and utility worker Dalton Guthrie tour off-season around the state and participate in volunteer work and visited youth baseball teams. Thompson has another out-of-state stop on his schedule: The former Kansas Jayhawks baseball star gives a pep talk to the team on Friday before taking part in the second-ranked basketball team’s game against Kentucky on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
On a windy day at Citizens Bank Park, memories of last season are there with World Series banners still on the walls and above the dugout. But there was a futuristic look toward Opening Day in the form of a 76-foot-high, 97-foot-wide scoreboard that put the jumbo jumbotron under construction like a death baseball star in left field.
He’ll be ready for the start of the season, when it’s finally around 2023.
No pressure, Thompson insisted.
“I don’t feel like it because I think we have a good football club,” said Thompson. “I think if we stay healthy and do what we’re supposed to do, I think the results will be there.”
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