Throughout spring training, one of the most debated topics regarding the Philadelphia Phillies was which outfielder would step up to be the starting centerfielder come Opening Day.
Former first-round pick Adam Haseley was the early favorite, launching the team’s second pitch seen of Grapefruit League action over the outfield wall for a home run. Just days later, however, Haseley suffered a moderate groin strain and was said to be sidelined for four weeks.
Roman Quinn, Scott Kingery, Mickey Moniak, and even non-roster invitees Odubel Herrera and Matt Joyce then entered the conversation. But, none really stepped up consistently, other than Moniak and Herrera with their handful of positive moments each.
Former first-rounder Adam Haseley is back in action at Phillies spring training.
The Phillies announced good news Tuesday afternoon that immediately changes the starting centerfielder conversation. Haseley appears to have healed much faster than expected, as less than three weeks removed from his injury, he will return to action Tuesday night as the backup centerfielder. And, if all goes well, he will start in Wednesday’s game.
Considering none of the aforementioned players stepped up in Haseley’s absence, the team appears willing to see if the University of Virginia alumnus will be ready to go come April 1. He has seven spring training games left to prove that.
Haseley being healthy and ready for the start of the season would be significant, as the Phillies can focus on puzzling together their 40-man roster with possible bullpen additions of current non-roster invitees Brandon Kintzler and Tony Watson. Subtracting two current 40-man roster players, rather than three, is a plus for the Phillies — as it is always difficult to risk losing someone designated for assignment.
Chances are, the Phillies would be looking to add Herrera to the 40-man roster if Haseley was not ready to go. Things can still change from now and next Thursday, but the picture is starting to become clearer on how the Opening Day roster will shape up come April 1.