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Phillies invite Odúbel Herrera to spring training mini-camp

Odubel Herrera has been invited to major league spring training. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

A year ago, the Philadelphia Phillies didn’t invite Odúbel Herrera to major league spring training, nor was he with the satellite squad during the regular season.

This time around, the Phillies appear to at least be entertaining the idea of giving Herrera a second chance at the major league level.

With pitchers and catchers due to report to Clearwater on Wednesday, the Phillies released a list of 19 internal players that aren’t currently on the 40-man roster who they have invited to major league spring training mini-camp. By far the most notable among them is Herrera, who hasn’t played for the team since May of 2019.

10 pitchers were invited, some of whom have appeared in games for the Phillies previously; Enyel De Los Santos, Tyler Carr, Julian Garcia, J.D. Hammer, Jonathan Hannigan, Jakob Hernandez, Erik Miller, David Parkinson, David Paulino and Zach Warren. Edgar Cabral and Logan O’Hoppe were the two internal catchers not currently on the 40-man roster. Darick Hall, Bryson Stott, Luke Williams, Jhailyn Ortiz, Johan Rojas and Matt Vierling are the remaining seven position players.

The Phillies say all 19 players have been “invited to attend the mini-camp at spring training.” Matt Gelb of The Athletic says that the 19 names could play in the Grapefruit League, but that as part of the mini-camp, they practice separately from major league camp.

Herrera, who was an All-Star for the Phillies in 2016, was arrested on Memorial Day 2019 in Atlantic City after a domestic incident took place between him and his then-20-year-old girlfriend. The most notable portion of the police report alleged that “the victim had visible signs of injury to her arms and neck.”

His girlfriend declined to press charges, which led to the dismissal of his simple assault case. Still, Herrera was suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2019 season. Herrera was designated for assignment last January, and eventually cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Herrera has spoken to the media just once since his arrest, when he apologized for his actions last February.

“There’s no one who regrets this more than me,” Herrera told the collective media, including Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I wanted to talk to you guys today because I wanted to say I’m sorry to the fans and the organization,” Herrera continued.

“I’m very regretful for what I did. It’s been a lesson learned for me and I want to turn the page and keep going with life.”

His invitation, though certainly a polarizing decision, isn’t especially shocking. Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer was told by a source that the Phillies were “leaning toward” inviting the former All-Star outfielder to major league spring training last week. Brookover reported that the final decision on the matter rested in the hands of managing partner John Middleton, and evidently he decided to at least let Herrera appear at major league camp.

Herrera, now 29, could seemingly play his way into a chance to compete for time in center field. Of course, he hasn’t played baseball in almost two years, and struggled mightily both at the end of the 2018 season and the beginning of 2019. If he shows up and isn’t effective, that will likely squash this entire situation. To make the team, he’ll have to look so impressive that the Phillies believe it warrants adding him back onto the 40-man roster. If not, it will be interesting to see if he is assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, assuming there’s a minor league season.

This story will be updated as more details come in…


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