The Phillies are promoting catcher Donny Sands to their MLB roster.
As rosters expand from 26 to 28 players for the remaining 31 games of the 2022 Philadelphia Phillies season, the organization announced Thursday afternoon which two players will join the team on Friday for the three-game road series against Gabe Kapler and the San Francisco Giants.
Along with selecting the contract of recently acquired reliever Vinny Nittoli, the Phillies added to their catching depth by recalling Donny Sands from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Sands will now complement and spell some time off behind the plate for the “Best Catcher in Baseball” and the “Best Backup Catcher in Baseball” — J.T. Realmuto and Garrett Stubbs.
As The Athletic’s Matt Gelb notes, the Phillies could swap out the 27th and 28th spots on the roster with other players in the coming weeks, such as Yairo Muñoz — who is not yet eligible to be recalled.
Back in November, the Phillies acquired Sands and right-handed reliever Nick Nelson from the New York Yankees in exchange for a minor-league infielder and left-handed pitcher. That trade is already looking to pay off well for interim manager Rob Thomson’s squad, as Nelson has pitched 60 innings this season — often throwing eating multiple innings at a time in games either well in hand or those out of reach.
In 57 games and 242 plate appearances this season at Lehigh Valley, Sands, 26, slashed .309/.413/.428 with nine doubles, five home runs, 34 RBI, 38 walks, and just 44 strikeouts.
The Yankees drafted the Arizona native in the eighth round of the 2015 draft. He was originally a third baseman, before converting positions.
It is intriguing that the Phillies are promoting Sands over Rafael Marchan — who logged big-league time in each of the previous two seasons, hitting a double, triple, pair of home runs and seven RBI spanning 65 plate appearances.
Having previously read the Philadelphia Inquirer story on how Sands lived out of his car for seven months when he was in high school, it is inspiring to see the No. 22-ranked Phillies prospect finally earn his call to “The Show.”