Phillies News: Castellanos' commercial, Kimbrel returns, Phillies trade for another pitcher

With Opening Day a day away, here's a quick look at some Phillies news stories you may have missed.

Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Opening Day for the Phillies is now just a day away (if the weather cooperates), and spring training 2024 is officially in the books as the team makes its way back from Florida to take on the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday afternoon. As we count down the minutes and seconds to Zack Wheeler's first pitch, we'll take a quick look at some Phillies news stories that we can't let slip through the cracks.

The Phillies put great effort into stockpiling the upper minor league system with pitching depth this offseason and well into spring training. That trend continued when the team made a minor trade with the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday and acquired right-handed pitcher Zac Houston for cash considerations. According to a social media post from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Houston was traded to the Phillies to give the longtime minor league reliever "a better chance to pitch at the Triple-A" level this season.

Houston is far from a prospect. The 29-year-old was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 11th round of the MLB Draft in 2016. Following seven minor league seasons split between the Tigers and New York Yankees minor league systems, Houston has yet to make it above Triple-A and make his major league debut. Houston will likely head to Lehigh Valley and spend time as a depth bullpen arm for the Phillies organization this season.

Craig Kimbrel absolutely dominates Phillies in first meeting since blowing NLCS

As previously reported, the Phillies will have a chance to face off against former closer and current NLCS scapegoat Craig Kimbrel this season, but not at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies will face the Baltimore Orioles on the road at Camden Yards for the only scheduled series of 2024 between the two teams. Phillies fans who were hoping to give Kimbrel an unwelcome return to Philadelphia will have to wait, or at the very least, take a trip to Baltimore.

But spring training doesn't count, and during a surprise appearance on March 20 against his former club, Kimbrel managed to get the best of Phillies hitters when he struck out the side in one inning of relief work. The biggest surprise of Kimbrel's one inning of work was how he struck out former teammate Bryson Stott. Ahead of Stott in the count, Kimbrel broke off a nasty changeup that completely fooled Stott.

The use of a changeup is entirely new to Kimbrel's pitch arsenal, and Stott had a confused look on his face following the at-bat that read, "Dude, why didn't you throw that pitch last October when we needed you?"

In six appearances for the Orioles during spring training, Kimbrel was 1-0 with eight strikeouts and a 7.50 ERA while also allowing two home runs. He's all yours now, Orioles fans. Let the ninth-inning adventures begin.

Nick Castellanos spills the beans about his hilarious acting gig

Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos became the latest Philadelphia athlete to appear in a commercial when he shared the spotlight with San Diego Padres star Fernado Tatis, Jr. in an amusing sketch for beer company Corona. In the sketch, Castellanos and Tatis Jr. hilariously explain to employers why their workers should be excused for calling out sick to watch Opening Day this year. writer Todd Zolecki recently asked Castellanos about how his recent acting gig came about and what he thought about his performance.

“I just had a feeling it was going to be OK,” said Castellanos per Zolecki. “Some parts felt natural, other parts didn’t. Acting lines, I had to get to a place where I felt like it was me and not just like an actor." 

Always refreshingly honest about any topic, Castellanos had some serious thoughts about what it takes to be an actor in a commercial.

“I did a commercial my rookie year for an automotive place in Detroit," continued Castellanos." It can be entertaining, but it also can be sticky where production in the media is a real thing. An actor can go in believing it’s going to be one way, and through editing they can make it look completely different. Right? So then the public is left with the power of the editing process. That’s a terrible way to leave perception. That leads to a very dishonest society. Acting is a unique business.” 

Perhaps Castellanos has caught the acting bug and will take his talents to Hollywood once his playing days are over. Maybe we'll catch Nick in a reboot of Scooby-Doo if they ever bring it back to the big screen. Stay tuned.