Phillies Spring Training 2024

Phillies notes: Marsh feels good, Abel makes impression, Sanchez ready

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Brandon Marsh returned to the Phillies' lineup Wednesday, 33 days after undergoing arthroscopic debridement surgery on his left knee.

He took two at-bats, he ran a decent way in left field to handle the first play of the game, and most importantly, he came away from it feeling good.

"You wouldn't expect anything less than for the first play to go there," he said. "Tested the waters, felt good. I'm just really happy with how today went."

He played with no limitations.

"Today felt like it was July again," Marsh said. "That's how we wanted to treat it, definitely be careful and play smart, but I didn't think about that when I got out there."

Manager Rob Thomson said after the game that he expected to use Marsh as the designated hitter for two plate appearances Thursday in Clearwater. Kyle Schwarber was back in the lineup Thursday as the DH a day after being scratched with right groin tightness. Marsh is set to enter when he exits.

"Awesome," Alec Bohm said of having Marsh back on the field. "The type of energy he brings, we've all been seeing him attacking his rehab and grinding through that every day. It's good for him to get a little reward for all the work he's done and get to play, run around and have fun."

Roster moves

The Phillies have reassigned six right-handed pitchers to minor-league camp this week: Mick Abel, Griff McGarry, Michael Mercado, Tyler Phillips, Ryan Burr and Tyler McKay.

Abel is regarded as the top healthy pitching prospect in the organization and made a good impression in camp. He appeared in two Grapefruit League games and struck out four over 2⅔ perfect innings. He is one of 27 Phillies prospects participating in their Spring Breakout game in Lakeland against the Tigers' prospects on Saturday.

"Every time I see him, it seems like he's getting better and growing up, maturing and becoming a man," Thomson said. "He's poised, he knows how to go about his business and his stuff is really, really good. Can he help us this year? Possibly. But for the future, he's a guy.

"We've got to build his innings and we're running out of innings here. So he's got to build. We're not afraid to put guys on the 40-man (roster) as long as you're performing and he's getting to the point now where he's mature enough to be able to handle that type of situation."

McGarry, who has huge strikeout stuff but has struggled with control, will begin the season in the minors as a reliever.

Rotation update

After Ranger Suarez on Thursday, Cristopher Sanchez will start at West Palm Beach against the Astros on Friday. Sanchez has appeared in just one game, a two-inning stint at Fort Myers on February 27. Lucky guy, getting all the long trips. In between, he was sidelined by an illness.

Taijuan Walker will throw a simulated game back in Clearwater on Friday. He made his first spring training start last Saturday. His velocity was 88-to-90, which wasn't ideal. He attributed it to the time of year and his unusual build-up — he missed time in camp due to a personal reason, then dealt with right knee soreness. Something to monitor in his remaining few starts before the Phillies break camp.

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