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Phillies Notebook: Thomson not looking for revenge against the D-Backs

PHILADELPHIA — Who could possibly shake the memory of blowing the chance for another World Series appearance last fall? Apparently Phillies manager Rob Thomson has no problem doing so.

With the Arizona Diamondbacks in town Friday, the pre-game talk invariably shifted to the National League Championship Series, taken by the Diamondbacks with consecutive victories in Philadelphia in Games 6 and 7.

Think that might stick in the craw of some of the Phillies now, some eight months later?

“Yeah, it may,” Thomson said, “but for me I’m focused on winning a series, not getting revenge on anything.

“It’s probably an individual thing, but it’s not (different) for me. It (Arizona) is a different club. I think they’re a better club this year than they were last year, with (Eugenio) Suarez, Jordan Montgomery and Joc Pederson. They’ve got a real good offensive team. It’s a new year, a new set of players, and I’d like to view it as a normal series against a real good club.”

The Diamondbacks, like several other clubs across both leagues expected to contend this season, have found the early going tough with teams like the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers and yes, the Phillies, getting off to impressive starts.

The defending NL champions went into the opener of the series Friday night at 37-38, nine full games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. They’re benefitting from a great start from Pederson, who joined Arizona after six-plus seasons as a Dodger, one year split between Chicago and Atlanta, and the last two years in San Francisco. Pederson is hitting .297 with a .914 OPS entering the series.

But the thought remained that the Phillies could have, should have put away an Arizona team that offensively and pitching-wise had been in the middle of the MLB pack during the season. They just happened to win the last two in that NLCS.

Asked if there were regrets, Thomson shrugged and said, “Sure, all the mistakes I made. But that’s the way it is. You make a decision and when it doesn’t work out it looks bad. It’s a mistake and you live with it.”

• • •

Thomson said he’s seen encouraging first signs from Johan Rojas after his demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier this week. Rojas was in the middle of a come-from-behind 9-7 IronPigs win over Norfolk on Thursday. He walked and scored on an error in the seventh and hit a home run in the eighth.

“Even outside the numbers, he cut down on his swing, used the entire field, got a bunt base hit, got a walk, saw 19 pitches,” Thomson said. “That’s what the goal was. That’s why we sent him there.”

Not that the Phils are ready to bring the light-hitting Rojas back yet, of course. There’s no timeline on that but Rojas will have all organizational eyes trained on him.

“When he left my office after we talked to him, I felt pretty good about him taking it seriously and not losing any days by feeling sorry for himself,” Thomson said. “Obviously he kicked it in and I’m happy for him.”

• • •

NOTES >> Over his back pain issues, Kody Clemens began a weekend-long rehab stint with the ‘Pigs Friday night. … With left hander Montgomery on the mound Friday night for Arizona, lefty second baseman Bryson Stott didn’t get a start. “He’s been a little up and down,” Thomson said. “But I’m expecting him to break out again any time. … It’s more of a timing issue. Getting good pitches to hit, being more aggressive in the count, that’s what I’d like to see from him.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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