Thomson hopes Dusty Wathan, a Friday night hero, gets shot to lead a club soon


WASHINGTON -- The conversation around the Phillies’ clubhouse early Saturday afternoon centered around third base coach Dusty Wathan’s astute read of a base-path obstruction call that helped the team score what turned out to be the deciding run in the 10th inning of Friday night’s 8-7 win over Washington.

Wathan saw third base umpire John Bacon call the infraction on Washington shortstop Luis Garcia and instantly waved Rhys Hoskins around third base and pointed him to the plate.

Once obstruction is called, the umpires decide where the runner should be placed. Wathan’s decision to send Hoskins as the play continued helped ensure that the run would be scored. Had Wathan not signaled Hoskins to go home -- and shouted ‘Go, go, go!’ the whole time -- Hoskins could have been placed at third.

Two runs scored on J.T. Realmuto’s hit up the middle. Hoskins scored the second one to give the Phils an 8-6 lead. The Nats scored a run in the bottom of the 10th so Hoskins’ run -- and Wathan’s role in it -- proved to be huge.

“It was fantastic,” manager Rob Thomson said, looking back at the play before Saturday's game. “Dusty knows the rules as well as anyone, and he's been around the game his entire life. He studies that stuff. He looks at film and sees things or hears things. He'll look them up over replay and make sure that he remembers those rules.

“So in a situation like that last night, it changes the entire game. Because instead of a one-run game, it's a two-run game if we don't score that second run.”

The Phillies actually practice plays similar to Friday night's in spring training.

Wathan, 48, is the son of former Kansas City Royals catcher and manager John Wathan. Dusty Wathan played 14 seasons in the minors and briefly in the majors with the Royals. He managed 10 seasons in the Phillies’ minor-league system before joining the big-league coaching staff in 2018 under Gabe Kapler. Wathan was a finalist for the job before it went to Kapler. He has been on the big-league staff under three managers now.

The newest manager, Thomson, believes Wathan deserves his shot to be in the big chair.

“This guy's a fantastic baseball mind, and I hope that, when jobs come up, managers' jobs come up, he's on the tip of every general manager's tongue,” Thomson said. “I really do. Because he's that type of baseball mind as far as I'm concerned.”

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