Phils excited about future behind the plate

With Ruiz, Rupp on board for '16, club also has prospects Alfaro, Knapp waiting

Phils excited about future behind the plate

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies think they have a bright future behind the plate.

They acquired catcher Jorge Alfaro from the Rangers in July as part of the Cole Hamels trade. He is the No. 64 prospect in baseball and the club's No. 5 prospect, but the Phillies also have catcher Andrew Knapp, who is tearing up the Double-A Eastern League. The Phils' No. 18 prospect is hitting .378 with 19 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 51 RBIs and a 1.094 OPS in 205 plate appearances.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils plan to give Altherr more starts down stretch

Mackanin has difficult task of dealing with logjam in outfield

Phils plan to give Altherr more starts down stretch

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin finds himself in a bit of a conundrum.

How can he play everybody the Phillies want him to play before the end of the season?

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eickhoff settles in after shaky first, retires 16 straight

Phillies rookie allows three early runs, but lasts six innings vs. hot-hitting Mets

Eickhoff settles in after shaky first, retires 16 straight

PHILADELPHIA -- With a relatively young roster, the Phillies will be using the final six weeks of the season to gauge just what type of team they can field in 2016 and beyond.

More to the point, the last month of evaluations won't be just about successes and failures. Instead, for a team that is clearly in a rebuilding phase, the biggest concern will be how this collection of players handles both scenarios.

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Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies unable to back Eickhoff's solid start

Phillies unable to back Eickhoff's solid start

PHILADELPHIA -- For the third time this season, the Mets own a winning streak of at least half a dozen games. They grabbed their sixth straight win with a 9-4 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night, extending their National League East lead over the Nationals to 6 1/2 games -- their largest since leading the Phillies by seven games with 17 to go in 2007 -- and putting themselves on pace for exactly 90 wins.

"You've got to win games you're supposed to win, there's no question about it," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Right now, we'll take it."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bowa's issue with quick pitch safety related

Bowa's issue with quick pitch safety related

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa has been around the game long enough to know he's going to hear from Major League Baseball over the next few days.

"It will say, 'Dear Larry, I miss you,'" a clearly sarcastic Bowa said on Wednesday afternoon. "[Chief baseball officer Joe Torre's] going to say, 'After further review,' and then I'm going to let him know what the situation was."

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Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils want to see how Hernandez reacts to slump

Phils want to see how Hernandez reacts to slump

PHILADELPHIA -- Over the last month, the Phillies have made it clear that they are in full rebuilding mode.

Mired in last place since the opening week of the season, the Phillies have traded several major components to one of the franchises most successful periods, including a World Series title in 2008. That has afforded playing time for young players such as Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera, both of whom were in the lineup on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park against the Mets.

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Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Early homers not enough against Mets

Early homers not enough against Mets

PHILADELPHIA -- If the Phillie Phanatic crushing a Mets helmet to smithereens during a between-innings gag was not evidence enough, then Larry Bowa's ejection sealed it. Make no mistake: the Mets may be in first place and the Phillies in last, but there's still a rivalry coursing down Interstate 95.

That was apparent throughout the Mets' fifth straight win on Monday, a 6-5 victory at Citizens Bank Park that improved them to 10-1 against the Phillies this season. Noah Syndergaard earned his first road victory of the year, Travis d'Arnaud tied things on a bases-loaded walk and Michael Cuddyer gave the Mets the lead for good with a pinch-hit, two-run single off Jeanmar Gomez in the sixth.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bowa, Phils angered by Robles' quick pitch

Philadelphia's bench coach tossed after benches clear in Mets' win

Bowa, Phils angered by Robles' quick pitch

PHILADELPHIA -- Give the man a chance to hit.

Tempers flared and benches emptied in the seventh inning Tuesday night in the Mets' 6-5 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies felt Mets right-hander Hansel Robles quick-pitched a pair of their hitters on consecutive nights before they had a chance to get set in the batter's box. The second occurrence got Jeff Francoeur out of the dugout, bench coach Larry Bowa ejected and Daniel Murphy wondering why Bowa wanted him drilled in the ribs with a pitch.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies may use six-man rotation in September

Team wants to get more looks at young arms in organization

Phillies may use six-man rotation in September

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies want to see more Aaron Nola, Adam Morgan and Jerad Eickhoff in their rotation before the end of the season.

They might want to see Triple-A right-hander Alec Asher, too.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Francoeur claimed on waivers, will remain with Phils

Outfielder interested in staying in Philadelphia beyond this season

Francoeur claimed on waivers, will remain with Phils

PHILADELPHIA -- Every time Jeff Francoeur hits a home run, somebody wonders why a contender would not want him for the stretch run.

But Francoeur will not be traded before the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline. A source confirmed an ESPN.com report that Francoeur did not clear revocable waivers. A team claimed him, but the Phillies could not strike a deal with that team.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jamie Moyer Foundation to honor Montgomery

Jamie Moyer Foundation to honor Montgomery

PHILADELPHIA -- Jamie Moyer left the Phillies' broadcast booth last fall to spend more time with his family.

But he returned to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday to promote The Moyer Foundation's third annual Champions for Children luncheon on Sept. 15 at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia, where Phillies chairman David Montgomery will be presented The Jamie Moyer Legends Award. Montgomery also will be honored with the foundation's Community All-Star Award.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils have nothing to show for crushing All-Star arms

Three home runs off deGrom not enough in slugfest with Mets

Phils have nothing to show for crushing All-Star arms

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies accomplished something pretty remarkable in the past 18 days.

They scored seven runs in the first three innings against Dodgers ace Zack Greinke on Aug. 6. Greinke entered the game with a 1.41 ERA, nearly three-quarters of a run better than any pitcher in Major League Baseball. The Phillies then scored seven runs in 2 2/3 innings Monday night against Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, who entered the night with a 1.98 ERA, which was second in baseball only to Greinke.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies fall despite clubbing three homers

Phillies fall despite clubbing three homers

PHILADELPHIA -- No deficit is too large for the new-look Mets to overcome. No offensive benchmarks are too ostentatious. David Wright homered in his first game since April and wound up being a footnote in the Mets' 16-7 win over the Phillies on Monday, which featured a franchise record eight home runs and 15 extra-base hits at Citizens Bank Park.

Wright, who had not played since April 14 due to a career-threatening spinal condition, homered off Adam Morgan on his first swing back from the disabled list. That sparked a torrent of offense from a Mets team that has scored in clumps throughout its three-city road trip, using two Wilmer Flores homers and a half-dozen others to pick up Jacob deGrom after his worst start of the season.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nola, Phillies blank Marlins on three hits

Nola, Phillies blank Marlins on three hits

MIAMI -- Promising Philadelphia rookie Aaron Nola threw a career-high eight scoreless innings and catcher Cameron Rupp provided a solo home run as the Phillies beat the Marlins, 2-0, on Sunday at Marlins Park to take three of four games in the series -- their first series win at Marlins Park since May 20-22, 2013. With the victory, Philadelphia moves into a tie with Miami at 50-74 at the bottom of the National League East.

The outing was the finest of Nola's young career. The Phillies' No. 2 ranked prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, struck out six, walked two and surrendered just three hits in his seventh career start. Nola (4-1, 3.59 ERA) outdueled Marlins rookie Adam Conley (1-1, 4.88 ERA), who worked a career-high six innings and allowed just one run on three hits and four walks.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Steve Willaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies Minor League review, Aug. 17-23

Player OF Aaron Brown, Clearwater…Brown, a 23-year old in his second professional season, earned Player of the Week Honors after batting .455 (10-22) with a home run, six runs scored, two doubles, two RBI and a walk in six games. He began the week with four straight multi-hit games, including his fourth three-hit game of the season on August 18. He has scored or driven in at least one run in six of his last seven contests. Brown was selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2014 draft out of Pepperdine University and was signed by Shane Bowers.

Pitcher - RHP Ricardo Pinto, Clearwater…The 21-year-old Pinto made one start for the Threshers, tossing 6.0 scoreless innings with six strikeouts and just three hits allowed as he was named Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week. He has allowed just one run in his last 19.2 innings (0.92 ERA), and over that span has surrendered just 11 hits and three walks (0.71 WHIP) while striking out 16 batters. This is the right-hander's second Pitcher of the Week award this season, with the first coming for the week of June 22-28. Pinto was signed by the Phillies and Jesus Mendez as an amateur free agent in December of 2011.

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Rupp keeps homering during Nola starts

Backstop hits fourth blast this month -- each coming while catching touted prospect

Rupp keeps homering during Nola starts

MIAMI -- It's hard to blame Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp for wanting to see Aaron Nola on the mound more than every fifth day. For four straight Nola outings, Rupp has started and homered each time -- as was the case once again in Sunday's 2-0 win at Marlins Park.

"I wish he would pitch every day then," Rupp joked.

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Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nola in complete control in career-best outing

Nola in complete control in career-best outing

MIAMI -- Aaron Nola's stellar outing of eight scoreless innings in Sunday's 2-0 Phillies win at Marlins Park supported the biggest lesson that the rookie has learned since his callup on July 21.

"Just pound the strike zone," Nola said. "It's easy to say, but getting behind big league hitters, it's tough to come back. You have to make that perfect pitch. You have to try to make them hit a weak ball. But the defense is better here -- they've played really great behind me this whole year.

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Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospects provide clutch power for Phillies

Prospects provide clutch power for Phillies

MIAMI -- Phillies rookies Darnell Sweeney and Aaron Altherr aren't established home run hitters by any means, but the clutch power display by the youngsters in Saturday's 4-2 comeback win at Marlins Park was certainly an encouraging sign for Philadelphia's future.

Trailing 2-0 in the eighth, the recently acquired Sweeney -- who's ranked 11th on the Phillies' top prospect list, according to MLBPipeline.com -- pinch-hit and launched his first career homer -- which also marked his first Major League hit. Meanwhile, the left fielder Altherr, Philadelphia's No. 24 prospect who was just recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, launched the go-ahead homer in the ninth for the second long ball of his career.

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Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Late homer barrage lifts Phillies past Marlins

Late homer barrage lifts Phillies past Marlins

MIAMI -- The Phillies picked an opportune time to belt their first back-to-back home runs this season. With one out in the ninth inning on Saturday, Aaron Altherr and Darin Ruf each connected off A.J. Ramos, lifting Philadelphia to a 4-2 victory over Miami at Marlins Park.

The Marlins held a two-run lead until two outs in the eighth inning, when the Phillies began to do their damage with solo shots. Darnell Sweeney homered off Justin Nicolino in the eighth for his first MLB hit. Philadelphia has won two of three in the four-game series, and is now one game behind Miami for last place in the National League East.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Steve Willaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harang stops rushing, settles into nice outing

After four walks in first three innings, veteran shuts down Marlins the rest of the way

Harang stops rushing, settles into nice outing

MIAMI -- Just like Phillies veteran Aaron Harang has been working extra the past couple of weeks to break his August slump, the righty did some soul searching after a rough third inning in Saturday's outing and regrouped to notch a quality start in Philadelphia's 4-2 comeback win at Marlins Park.

"I kind of figured some things out after that inning -- felt like I was rushing a little bit," Harang said. "I was able to think about it after the inning. I told myself to slow down and get things under control."

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Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard hits 3 doubles, climbs Phillies' RBI list

Howard hits 3 doubles, climbs Phillies' RBI list

MIAMI -- While Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff was busy working his name into the club's record books in Friday's 7-1 win at Marlins Park, first baseman Ryan Howard left his mark as well.

Howard went 3-for-5 with three doubles, his first three-double game since June 8, 2008 -- and only the second of his career. He also recorded two RBIs in the process, which moved him past Del Ennis for third place in Phillies franchise history with 1,125.

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Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Part of Hamels deal, Eickhoff matches lefty with feat

Righty first Phillies pitcher to not allow a run in Major League debut since man he was traded for

Part of Hamels deal, Eickhoff matches lefty with feat

MIAMI -- For the past few days leading up to his Major League debut on Friday night, Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff had one thought on his mind.

"I just wanted to get up there and get after them," he said.

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Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eickhoff debuts with gem as Phillies drub Marlins

Eickhoff debuts with gem as Phillies drub Marlins

MIAMI -- Jerad Eickhoff's Major League debut was an eventful and successful one. The right-hander, acquired from the Rangers as part of the Cole Hamels deal, threw six shutout innings and drove in two runs with a single in the Phillies' 7-1 victory over Miami at Marlins Park.

Eickhoff, rated the Phillies' No. 15 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, scattered five hits and struck out five. He also capped a four-run fourth inning by delivering a two-out, two-run single off Kendry Flores.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Steve Willaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Franco's season might not be over after all

Phillies get good reports about wrist injury, keeping hope alive that slugger could return in '15

Franco's season might not be over after all

MIAMI -- While Maikel Franco's wrist injury recently went from bad to worse -- sending him to the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday and seemingly ending his rookie season -- Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said prior to Friday's contest in Miami that there's a chance the third baseman will be back this season after all.

"The prognosis for Franco is a little bit better than what they've previously noted," he said. "So he perhaps might be able to come back a little sooner. He might be back before the season is over."

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Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Utley's influence on Phillies won't be forgotten

Utley's influence on Phillies won't be forgotten

MIAMI -- A member of the Phillies since 2013, left fielder Cody Asche admitted that, early on, he used to have his groggy days.

"I'd get to the field in plenty of time to do everything, but I didn't really feel like doing it," he said prior to Thursday's contest against Miami. "And then I take a walk around and there's Chase [Utley] -- he's already worked out and done this, this and this. He's already studying the pitchers. [Shoot], I guess I better do something, too, you know?

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Steve Willaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies rally late, but fall short against Marlins

Phillies rally late, but fall short against Marlins

MIAMI -- The Marlins struck early with a pair of two-run homers from Martin Prado and Marcell Ozuna, and then held on late to beat the Phillies, 9-7, on Thursday at Marlins Park.

Miami's Brad Hand was in trouble in the first inning, loading the bases with one out. But he allowed just a sacrifice fly to Darin Ruf, and minimized the damage. The lefty, who threw 97 pitches, allowed one run on four hits in six innings. Hand had plenty of support as Miami sent nine to the plate and scored four runs in each of the first two innings.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Steve Willaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies deal Utley to Dodgers for two prospects

INF/OF Sweeney, RHP Richy headed to Philadelphia for All-Star second baseman

Phillies deal Utley to Dodgers for two prospects

PHILADELPHIA -- Chase Utley raised the Phillies cap from his head and acknowledged the fans standing and cheering for him behind the Phils' dugout following Wednesday night's 7-4 win over the Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park.

Utley descended the steps and quietly disappeared into the clubhouse. It would be his last time in a Phillies uniform.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Phillies land potentially useful prospects for Utley

Phillies land potentially useful prospects for Utley

In the twilight of his career and in the midst of his worst big league season, six-time All-Star Chase Utley wasn't going to command a lot in a trade. But the Phillies managed to get a pair of potentially useful prospects when they granted Utley's wish of playing for a contender in his native Southern California.

The Dodgers acquired Utley on Wednesday night in exchange for outfielder/infielder Darnell Sweeney and right-hander John Richy. Sweeney will report immediately to Philadelphia for his first big league callup.

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