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Phillies Beat with Destiny Lugardo

Bryce Harper arrives at camp, big update on fan attendance in Philadelphia and more spring training notes


The Phillies’ biggest and brightest star arrived for his first day at the Phillies’ spring training facility in Clearwater. According to manager Joe Girardi, Harper began his intake screening a day late because he wanted to finish out the routine he had at home back in Las Vegas, which slightly delayed his start of camp. Intake screening includes a five-day mandatory quarantine at the player’s spring training residence as well as diagnostic, PCR and antibody and serology testing.

Fans sitting in the Hall of Fame Club at Citizens Bank Park in 2019. (Cheryl Pursell)

It’s a running joke that players come into camp in the best shape of their lives. According to Girardi, Harper “Looks like Bryce to him.”

“I would say he’s the same size as he’s been,” Girardi said Tuesday. “He looks extremely strong and in tremendous shape like he always is. So I don’t really see a whole lot of change. He’s not bigger or smaller to me.”

Alec Bohm puts on an extra 10 pounds of muscle

Speaking of being in the best shape of his life, third baseman Alec Bohm has added on a few extra pounds of what general manager Sam Fuld would call “Good weight.”

“I wanted to get stronger. I knew there was room to fill out my frame. Definitely get stronger in the legs. That was kind of the main place I wanted to focus. Just getting my legs stronger and keeping a little bit of my mobility. Really, build that base. Get myself ready to play 162 games and stay healthy all year,” Bohm said.

The 24-year-old estimates that he’s around 225 pounds as opposed to where he was last year at 215. He doesn’t think the change is quite noticeable and he notes that he has played at that weight in Double-A.

Bohm was also asked about his second place finish in NL Rookie of the Year voting and whether that motivates him to have a better sophomore campaign.

“[I’m] grateful for the year I had last year,” Bohm said. “Finishing second doesn’t really add any extra motivation or anything like that. I guess I’m still as motivated as I would be if I hit a buck 80 or if I hit .400 last year. It’s the same mindset. It’s going to be the same approach to the season as I usually always have. Go out there and take it a day at a time. Put together good at-bats, do my job on the defensive side of the ball and try to find ways to help the team win every day.”

Harper in “Clearwooder”

Harper has been known to be a trendsetter and this year isn’t much different. He arrived in camp with a “Clearwooder” t-shirt, “Jawn” knit hat and a Phanatic bat that his son Krew would approve.

He has the whole pandering to Philadelphians thing down like it’s a toe tap.

Girardi expressed his admiration (and jealousy) for Harper’s sense of style.

“Man, I wish I had a little bit of style, but that was just not one of my blessings.”

But what about Harper’s back?

A much more important question was asked pertaining to Harper: Is his back OK? He didn’t miss a ton of time last season due to the injury, but it did slow him down a ton. Over a 162-game season, Girardi admitted last year that he would have sat Harper, but there just wasn’t enough time to do so.

“He feels really good. I just know that they can rear their ugly head because I am a back patient,” Girardi said. “I have herniated L4-L5, T2-T3 and I’ve had to deal with it. I know that you have to stay on top of it, and you have to keep a pulse. And sometimes you might be a little cranky one day for no rhyme or reason. Just a movement that you made. To me, we’re really pleased with where he’s at. We’re excited about where he’s at. But I think there has to be constant communication.”

And the fans?

Philadelphia health commissioner Thomas Farley indicated that pending state approval, having some fans on Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park is “likely.The city is looking to roll back event limits starting on March 1. Farley would not go into detail about how many fans could be allowed through the gates.

Girardi commented on the possibility of fans being in attendance on April 1:

“I would love it. And I think our players are going to love it. And I think our players are longing for it. As much as we love to play, we also love to play in front of fans that are passionate like the Philadelphia Phillies fans are and I I’m really looking forward to it.”

Quick Hits

  • Girardi doesn’t have a starting pitcher named for the first spring training game on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers. He hopes to speak to pitching coach Caleb Cotham about the decision and announce it to the media on Wednesday.
  • The Phillies have quite a few players that still have not arrived at camp. Last week, Girardi announced that catcher Christian Bethancourt and pitchers Francisco Morales, Mauricio Llovera, Ranger Suárez and Neftalí Féliz are experiencing visa issues. Matt Gelb of The Athletic and Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported that shortstops Didi Gregorius and Luis Garcia have still not arrived in Florida. They still have to undergo intake screening when they do touch down in the states, which means a mandatory five-day quarantine. Girard said today that some of those players could arrive this week.

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