By Sam Bush
As the Phillies sink in the NL East and the talk of a wild card now out the window, Phillies fans can point to Sept. 1, when:
The Phillies are expected to promote a handful of players once the 25-man roster expands.
“We’ll probably do callups in stages,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak told MLB.com. “A few guys on the first just to make sure this team is covered, but not so many that we deplete the Double-A and Triple-A teams who are playing meaningful games. When their seasons end, that’s another stage. But it’s not going to be everybody arrives on the first.”
The Phillies could call up relievers like Luis Garcia, Dalier Hinojosa and Colton Murray on Sept. 1 to help the bullpen. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said yesterday that he is looking for a couple more relievers to prevent Hector Neris, who leads the big leagues with 63 appearances, and Jeanmar Gomez from being overused.
Right-hander Alec Asher (above) seems likely to make an appearance in September. His 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs ends Sept. 5, the final day of the IronPigs’ regular season. Asher is not eligible to compete in the Minor League postseason.
In terms of prospects, catcher Jorge Alfaro and outfielder Roman Quinn already are on the 40-man roster, which helps their chances. They could be up once Double-A Reading’s season is finished. Triple-A outfielder Nick Williams seemed like a smart bet at one point, but he has hit .192 with four home runs, 19 RBIs and a .551 OPS in 132 plate appearances since July 15. He is not on the 40-man roster.
Triple-A shortstop J.P. Crawford, ranked as the club’s top prospect, is not expected to be promoted.
Infielder Andres Blanco will rejoin the team at some point. He is recovering from a broken left finger. First baseman Darin Ruf, right-hander David Buchanan and outfielders Cody Asche and Darnell Sweeney also are on the 40-man roster.