Phillies notes: Bryce Harper debuts today; all good with Rhys Hoskins


Rhys Hoskins made his spring debut as the Phillies' designated hitter on Thursday.

Now it's Bryce Harper's turn.

Manager Joe Girardi said Harper would be the designated hitter in Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Clearwater.

The 1 p.m. game will be televised on NBCSP+.

Harper was slowed by a sore back last September and Girardi wanted to ease him back into action. Though Harper has not played in the Phillies' first five exhibition games, he has gone through full workouts every day since camp opened. That includes seeing live pitching and defensive work. With 3½ weeks to go before opening day, Harper will have plenty of time to get the game reps needed to be ready for April 1.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto has not played in a game. He is still recovering from a broken right thumb. He has been in a cast for two weeks. He is slated to have an X-ray in the coming days to gauge his progress and get a read on his potential readiness for opening day. Realmuto has been able to participate in drills while protecting his right hand.

Friday's game will offer the first look at starting pitcher Chase Anderson, who was signed to a big-league contract shortly before opening day. He is expected to hold down the fifth spot in the starting rotation. 

Spencer Howard will get innings after Anderson. He is in competition to make the opening day roster.

Girardi said it was likely he would unveil relievers Archie Bradley, Hector Neris, Jose Alvarado, Connor Brogdon and Sam Coonrod on Friday and Saturday.

All good on Hoskins

Hoskins struck out, flied out to the wall in center and laced a base hit the opposite way in Thursday's 15-0 win over the Yankees. Five months after having surgery to repair a ligament tear in his left elbow, he remains confident he will be ready for opening day.

"Everything feels normal, no hesitation," said Hoskins, who will begin playing first base next week. "If you're asking me, there's no reason I won't be ready. Barring something really, really weird happening, I should have no problem getting the amount of reps I need to be ready."

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