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Phillies Notebook: Jake Cave, Darick Hall step up competition for roster spot

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Phillies’ World Baseball Classic participants, including Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber, depart this week, which shifts attention and at-bats to players fighting for roster spots.

That crowd is thinner this year than most, given the collection of veteran talent hoping to pilot a return to the World Series. But the last bench job could take on outsized importance on a team starting the season without Bryce Harper.

Both Jake Cave and Darick Hall homered Monday in a 10-7 Grapefruit League loss to the Orioles. They started against a left-hander in former Phillies farmhand Cole Irvin.

Hall singled in the first inning, making him pay for hanging a breaking ball after Irvin put him down 0-2 in the count with a pair of quality curves. Hall then clubbed a massive homer to right in the sixth off former Washington National Austin Voth.

Hall entered the game going 4-for-12 with a double, a homer and three RBIs this spring. He’s also walked three times, after just five walks in 142 plate appearances last season. Hall batted just 1-for-12 against lefties in the bigs as a rookie.

“He’s having good at-bats, long at-bats,” manager Rob Thomson said. “He’s swinging at strikes, he’s not chasing, and that’s a good sign.”

Cave grounded out twice before blasting an opposite-field homer over the 366 sign in left center. It’s his second long ball of the spring.

Both made fine defensive plays, left-fielder Cave sliding in to make a diving catch on a sinking Adley Rutschman liner with two men on (though he did allow those runners to advance a base by throwing behind the runner at first, where Hall wasn’t covering). Hall ended the inning by picking a low throw from Bryson Stott at second out of the dirt. Cave nearly made a second diving catch, on Rutschtman in the fifth.

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Thompson had no update on Andrew Painter’s “tender” throwing elbow but hopes to have one Tuesday.

“We’re still in the same spot,” the manager said. “Hopefully tomorrow we get an update.”

The 19-year-old threw last Wednesday against Minnesota and reported the “tender” feeling the next day. The team has put him through a series of tests. He hasn’t thrown since Wednesday.

Painter is the team’s top prospect and ranked by as the sixth best in baseball. He went 6-2 with a 1.48 ERA last year in the minors, rising from Single-A to Double A. He struck out 155 batters and walked 25 in 103.2 innings.

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Edmundo Sosa exited after being hit by a pitch in his right arm but is feeling fine.

Sosa was hit on the right wrist by a Mychal Givens pitch in the top of the fourth. He didn’t make it to first base before the training staff came out to meet him and immediately exited for a pinch-runner, but he reported normal pain from it in the clubhouse. The ball hit high enough to miss the bones of the wrist of Sosa, who celebrated his 27th birthday Monday.

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With the burgeoning young talent in the rotation, an established long man in Nick Nelson and Bailey Falter ahead of him in terms of big-league experience, Michael Plassmeyer probably doesn’t have a path to the opening day roster. But he’s started spring well, not allowing a run in 5.1 innings.

He navigated 2.1 innings in his third appearance, with two hits and one walk over 36 pitches.

“For me, it’s feeling like I’m ready 110 percent for wherever the season begins and wherever I’m at,” the 26-year-old lefty said. “Just feeling like I can go out there from Day 1 and have my best stuff and be ready to go.”

That performance came despite starting only four of the 14 batters he faced with strikes. Thomson sees that following from his ability not to get rattled.

“I thought he was good,” Thomson said. “… He’s the type of guy that even if he’s behind, he just changes speeds and keeps people off balance, and he’s very poised out there. He’s throwing the ball very well.”

Acquired from San Francisco last June after struggling mightily in Triple A, Plassmeyer impressed in two appearances over 7.1 innings with the Phillies – his debut against the Reds was to strike out Austin Romine with the bases loaded, then he threw six solid innings in the regular-season finale in Houston.

He’s added a two-seamer and cutter to his repertoire. As a “command, location and deception guy” whose fastball lives in the low 90s, he understands the value of mixing it up.

“It’s another thing to put in those hitters’ heads,” he said.

• • •

NOTES >> Harper will report to Clearwater Wednesday, with a physical Thursday. He’s been taking dry swings and building strength in the right elbow on which he had Tommy John surgery. … Cristopher Sanchez will pitch in his first spring game Tuesday. He was delayed by a minor back issue upon reporting but has thrown batting practices. … Alec Bohm hit his third homer of the spring plus an RBI double. The homer came off Voth, who allowed three homers, two warning-track drives and a single to Scott Kingery. Kingery started in center field and batted sixth. … Irvin, traded by the Phillies to Oakland in 2021, threw three solid innings, allowing three hits, no walks and two strikeouts. He’s projected to be near the top of the Orioles rotation, with former Phillie Kyle Gibson. … Reliever Yunior Marte hit 98 mph on the radar gun at Ed Smith Stadium in his inning of relief. The lanky 6-2 righty from the Dominican Republic struggled in 39 games with the Giants last year (5.49 ERA, 47 hits, 22 walks, 44 Ks in 48 innings pitched) but has undeniable stuff. The 28-year-old is on the Phillies’ 40-man roster.

Source: Berkshire mont

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