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Morning News: Scott Kingery is still really good

Scott Kingery / Photo by: Lauren McLaughlin

Here’s your news for the day:

KING FOR A DAY: Scott Kingery has been one of the big early storylines out of spring training. He leads all Phillies in Grapefruit League at bats, and in those 18 at bats has looked pretty awesome: .389/.421/.944, 3 HR, 1 2B, 3K, 1 BB. He’s also hit some opposite-field extra-base hits, and hard.

Beyond that he has looked awesome in the field, and not just at second base. He’s played center field and shortstop, and he’s likely to play some third base, too, this spring.

He also has earned glowing praise from Gabe Kapler and Aaron Nola, among others. Read this Matt Gelb piece at the Athletic about him, which includes the story of his 2016-17 swing change. The point is this: Kingery is going to be a major leaguer, and soon.

But probably not immediately. Most everyone will tell you that Kingery is going to start in Lehigh Valley. The Phils need to keep Kingery in the minors for two weeks, because after that they can bring him up and not lose a year of control over his service. That’s an unfair labor practice, but it’s how the rules are written.

Meanwhile there are real reasons to keep him in triple-A: His plate discipline wasn’t the best in Lehigh Valley in 2017, and Cesar Hernandez is entrenched at second base for now. That said, Kingery’s position flexibility makes that latter point moot, while the shaky plate discipline can be tweaked in the majors. So the most likely scenario is Kingery is up with the big club in mid- to late-April as a super utility guy. He’ll get four to five starts per week at second, third, short and center, and at some point the Phils will make a move to clear up the logjam.

So, I guess, be patient. Kingery will be in Philly sooner than later.

MEANWHILE: The Phils lost more than they won this weekend, going 1-3 against the Rays, Pirates, Orioles and Blue Jays. For those who care, the Phils are dead last in the Grapefruit League at 3-8 (it really doesn’t matter, honestly).

CUTTING BLOCK: We’re still a little ways from the first roster cuts of spring, but early on it doesn’t look good for Dylan Cozens (.176/.222/.235, 7 K, 1BB), who needs to improve his discipline if he wants to have a major league career. Meanwhile on the mound Francisco Rodriguez (3.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 6 BB, 3 K) has been a bit too wild.

ROLLINS IN TOWN: The Phillies had their alumni weekend in Clearwater, which brought back a number of 2008 Phillies, including Brett Myers, Rich Dubee, Pedro Feliz, Scott Eyre, Andy Tracy (hey!) and Jimmy Rollins. According to reports, Rollins may take some role with the organization; also, maybe he’ll sign a one-day retirement contract. But apparently he’ll want to get in a game as part of that contract.

Honestly, Phillies, do it. Do it some time early in the season, maybe for one pitch of one game. Have him start at short, then pull him after the pitch and bring in J.P. Crawford or whatever. It’ll sell out the park, kickstart the 2008 remembrances and, heck, you could build a whole weekend around it.

I would say do it against the Dodgers (maybe Jimmy and Chase can do their handshake one last time somehow), but they come into town for a weekday series in July. That seems too late. And not August’s alumni weekend, as we’ll all be focused on Roy Halladay then. Would feel weird. Just do it in April, maybe on the 22nd against Pittsburgh.

TODAY’S GAME: The Phillies are home today against the Twins; gametime is 1 p.m. The lineup:

  1. Hernandez – 2B
  2. Santana – DH
  3. Franco – 3B
  4. Hoskins – LF
  5. Crawford – SS
  6. Joseph – 1B
  7. Knapp – C
  8. Cozens – RF
  9. Quinn – CF

Vince Velasquez will start.

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