Phillies send catching prospect Deivy Grullon to minors for important reason


CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies continued to thin the ranks in big-league camp as they sent three players to the minor-league side of the complex on Monday.

The group included corner infielder/outfielder Austin Listi, infielder Arquimedes Gamboa and catcher Deivy Grullon.

Gamboa, 22, played at Double A last season and hit just .188. Listi, 26, has played in Single A, Double A and Triple A the last two seasons and has driven in 84 and 83 runs, respectively.

Grullon, 24, is an important guy in the Phillies organization. That's actually why he was sent down with more than two weeks to go in big-league camp.

"We want him to get his reps in," manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't want him not getting his at-bats and not being built up as a catcher because that takes time, too. That was kind of our thinking."

As opening day approaches, indispensable starting catcher J.T. Realmuto will get more and more work in Grapefruit League games and backup Andrew Knapp will see more time, as well. That means less opportunity for Grullon to stay sharp in big-league camp.

Keeping Grullon sharp is important because the Phils have just three catchers on the 40-man roster and he could be pressed into duty at any time in the majors if the Phils have a breakdown. Veteran Christian Bethancourt remains in camp, but he's not on the 40-man roster. Spots on the 40-man roster are precious. Already the Phils could be looking at the need to free up at least a couple of spots on the 40-man roster during the final week of camp. Non-roster reliever Francisco Liriano is a strong bet to make the roster and the Phils could add a non-roster player or two to their bench, as well.

Grullon's bat is way ahead of his defense — he hit .283 with an .851 OPS, 24 doubles, 21 homers and 77 RBIs at Triple A last season — but Girardi believes he's headed in the right direction and would be a consideration for regular playing time in the majors if a need arose.

"I think we would definitely look at that," Girardi said. "He's made great strides. He was up last September and he did well. He handled the scouting reports and handled the pitching staff. I like his swing so, yeah, I mean it's important that you have a guy in your minor leagues that can play multiple days in a row."

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