The Phillies have announced their starting lineup for the first exhibition game of the Florida spring training Grapefruit League season tomorrow. Starting at 1st base and batting 5th behind cleanup man Darin Ruf will be someone named Chris McGuiness.
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The majority of Phils fans looking over the lineup would probably say “Who?” in reference to not only McGuiness, but many of the others starting in red pinstripes as well. But you have to remember, the game is being played vs the University of Tampa. The Phils will use it to get a number of their less experienced players some game action.
McGuiness actually has major league playing time on his resume. In 2013, he received 34 plate appearances spread across 10 games for a 91-win Texas Rangers team. All of his action came as an injury fill-in between June 7th and 17th.
He registered his lone career highlight to this point on June 9th when his double in the top of the 4th off Josh Johnson at Rogers Centre scored David Murphy in a game that the Rangers would go on to win over the Toronto Blue Jays by a 6-4 score.
Phils lineup vs University of Tampa for Sunday, March 1st, 2015.
The 26 year old (he’ll turn 27 on April 11th) was born in Charleston, South Carolina and was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2009 Amateur Draft out of college at The Citadel. He lasted barely a year with the Bosox organization before being traded as the lead piece to the Rangers for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
He had a strong 2010 season split between Bosox and Rangers minor league affiliates, hitting .284 with a .406 on-base percentage, with 19 homers and 68 RBI. In 2012 at AA-Frisco, McGuiness ripped 23 homers and knocked in 77 runs. He followed that up at AAA-Round Rock with an 11HR/68RBI campaign.
In December of 2013, McGuiness was traded away from the Rangers to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Miles Mikolas. Playing all of last season as the starting 1st baseman for the Bucs AAA-Indianapolis affiliates, he had 9 homers and 54 RBI. Two days before this past Christmas, he signed as a free agent with the Phillies.
A left-handed hitter with a line-drive swing, McGuiness is considered a solid defender. He is likely ticketed as the starting 1st baseman for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phils AAA affiliates. However, he has the ability to handle a big league fastball, and could see time in Philly at some point, especially if Ryan Howard is traded away or goes down with an injury.