Odubel Herrera among Phillies spring training invitees

Odubel Herrera #37 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Odubel Herrera #37 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

With the first workout for pitchers and catchers set for Wednesday, the Philadelphia Phillies finalized their spring training invitees for the 2021 Grapefruit League season.

The Phillies will bring a total of 12 non-roster invitees to their major-league spring training, including six pitchers, three catchers, two outfielders and one infielder.

  • Pitchers: Neftalí Feliz, Brandon Kintzler, Bryan Mitchell, Iván Nova, Héctor Rondón, Michael Ynoa
  • Catchers: Christian Bethancourt, Rodolfo Durán, Jeff Mathis
  • Infielders: Ronald Torreyes
  • Outfielders: Travis Jankowski, Matt Joyce

The 37-year-old Mathis and 22-year-old Durán were the final two invites and will compete with Andrew Knapp, Rafael Marchan, and Christian Bethancourt for the backup catcher position. Mathis appeared in 24 games this past season with the Texas Rangers, and 911 overall spanning his 16-season major-league career. His career games rank sixth on the active list among catchers. Durán, a 2014 Phillies amateur signee, most recently played in Florida Instructional League and the Dominican Winter League after the 2020 season. Across 64 games in 2019 with the Clearwater Threshers, he threw out more than 40 percent of attempted base stealers and did not commit an error.

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The club also extended invitations to the following 19 players to attend spring training mini-camp; all but right-handed pitcher David Paulino are internal invites:

  • Pitchers (10): Tyler Carr, Enyel De Los Santos, Julian Garcia, JD Hammer, Jonathan Hennigan, Jakob Hernandez, Erik Miller, David Parkinson, David Paulino, Zach Warren
  • Catchers (2): Edgar Cabral, Logan O’Hoppe
  • Infielders (3): Darick Hall, Bryson Stott, Luke Williams
  • Outfielders (4): Odubel Herrera, Jhailyn Ortiz, Johan Rojas, Matt Vierling

Odubel Herrera will be a part of the 2021 Phillies spring training.

An unexpected name on this mini-camp list is Herrera, who has not played in the majors since May 2019 due to a domestic violence suspension. Considering the Phillies excluded the outfielder from their 60-man player pool last season, the sudden shift to invite him to camp is a surprise.

When recently asked by reporters if Herrera would be part of the Phillies centerfield competition if invited to camp, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that he would compete for the job. The 2016 National League All-Star is still owed nearly $14 million for his 2021 salary and club option buyouts for 2022 and 2023.

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The decision to bring Herrera to camp is not a popular one. But, the Phillies have noted in the past that they cannot cut ties with him unless it is for “baseball reasons.” A poor showing in mini-camp would suffice.

It will be a tough battle ahead for any of these 31 overall players invited to Phillies spring training to not only be added to the 40-man roster, but also the 26-man Opening Day roster. Herrera’s battle will be the most difficult.

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