Thursday, September 29 2022

Nick Castellanos brings ‘passion, fire and barrels’ to Phillies’ lineup originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies continue to offer glimpses of what their opening day lineup will look like — and the power that it could offer.

Newcomers Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos were in the lineup together for the first time Monday in a game against the Baltimore Orioles at BayCare Ballpark.

Schwarber batted leadoff; Castellanos cleanup.

Both smacked homers early in the game against Orioles righty Dean Kremer.

The Phillies won, 7-1.

They’ve scored 17 runs the last two games and hit 12 homers the last three.

“I love how deep they’re getting in counts,” manager Joe Girardi said of his hitters. “What our guys are doing to pitchers, I really like. And a lot of our hits are extra-base hits. Put that together with walks and you’ll score a lot of runs.”

The additions of Schwarber and Castellanos, Girardi said, “has given us a lineup that we think is going to be really deep. Someone is going to have to hit seventh, eighth or ninth. It doesn’t mean you’re a seventh, eighth or ninth hitter, but there’s going to be production spots all through the lineup. You’ll have chances to drive in runs. Don’t get caught up where you hit. Be the hitter you are and it could be something special.”

Though he’s not ready to commit to anything, Girardi seems to like Schwarber at leadoff, Bryce Harper in the three-hole and Castellanos fourth. Jean Segura or J.T. Realmuto could hit second. Rhys Hoskins could hit second, fourth, fifth or sixth.

Time will tell.

“Let it play out,” Girardi said.

Castellanos followed a single by Harper with a long homer to left in his first at-bat of Monday’s game.

That made the happy people in the tiki bar a little happier.

Two innings later, Schwarber connected on a drive over the right field wall to give the Phils a 3-0 lead.

It’s a sight Phillies fans hope to see a lot more of this season.

“When you walk out on the field, everyone is excited,” Schwarber said. “Everyone is hungry and wants to get to the playoffs, and I can tell everyone back home we want to get there and we want to go deep.”

Schwarber and Castellanos played together with the Cubs in 2019. Schwarber offered this scouting report on his teammate:

“I know what he brings to the table — passion, fire and barrels, which is a good thing.”

HEALTH CHECK

Because of the short spring training, Major League Baseball is expected to allow teams to carry two extra players for the first couple of weeks of the season. The Phillies will use those two spots for extra relievers. That field is thinning as opening day approaches. Sam Coonrod will open on the injured list because of a sore shoulder. Jose Alvarado’s status is uncertain as he has missed time with a neck issue.

Alvarado has resumed throwing.

“I think there’s time (for him to be ready),” Girardi said. “But I’m concerned.”

STOTT SHINES AGAIN

One day after drawing a base-loaded walk and belting a two-run homer, Bryson Stott continued to make a push for a spot on the opening day roster. He made a couple of nice plays at shortstop and had three hits to raise his spring average to .533 (8 for 15).

“He’s been great,” Girardi said.

Girardi said he was not sure when Stott would play third base again. The rookie is a candidate to win that job. Alec Bohm and Johan Camargo are also candidates.

Girardi is not one for casting things in stone, but he basically acknowledged what has become obvious as camp has progressed: Didi Gregorius will open the season as the shortstop.

NOLA’S DAY

Opening day starter Aaron Nola pitches against the Yankees in Tampa on Tuesday.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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