Franco could be back by season's end

Franco could be back by season's end

NEW YORK -- It sounds more and more as though third baseman Maikel Franco could be back in the Phillies' lineup before the end of the season.

Franco's broken left wrist seems to be healing nicely, and he said on Monday afternoon at Citi Field that he expects to take batting practice on Wednesday.

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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 expected to add 3 at expansion time

Phils expected to add 3 at expansion time

NEW YORK -- Expect to see some new faces in Phillies uniforms on Tuesday.

No, the Phillies do not expect to trade anybody before Monday's midnight waiver Trade Deadline. Outfielder Jeff Francoeur might be the most attractive player to a contender, and it is believed that the Pirates claimed him off waivers earlier this month, but the two teams could not work out a trade, so the Phillies pulled him back.

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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.

Asher enjoyed experience of his first start

Asher enjoyed experience of his first start

PHILADELPHIA -- At the very least, Phillies rookie Alec Asher had a memorable afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Asher is one of five prospects the Phillies acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade in July. He became the second of those prospects to make his big league debut, when he started Sunday's 9-4 loss to the Padres. Asher allowed eight hits, four runs, one walk, two home runs and struck out three in 5 2/3 innings.

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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 to Padres in Asher's MLB debut

Phillies fall to Padres in Asher's MLB debut

PHILADELPHIA -- The Padres avoided a season sweep to the Phillies on Sunday, thanks to a little star power.

Matt Kemp and Justin Upton homered while James Shields allowed just one run in seven innings in a 9-4 victory at Citizens Bank Park. It was the Padres' only victory in six games this season against the Phillies.

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

Phillies claim reliever Roberts off waivers

Phillies claim reliever Roberts off waivers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies acquired some bullpen depth Sunday when they claimed left-hander Ken Roberts off waivers from the Rockies.

Roberts has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he could join the Phillies on Tuesday when rosters expand. The Phillies are thin on left-handed relievers. They traded Jake Diekman to Texas in July. They designated Cesar Jimenez for assignment recently, and the Brewers claimed him off waivers. Then last week Elvis Araujo strained his left groin and landed on the disabled list.

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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.

Sweeney opening eyes in Philadelphia

Sweeney opening eyes in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have their playing time priorities for the remainder of the season, and Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera are priorities at second base and center field, respectively.

Where does that leave Darnell Sweeney?

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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.

Morgan helps Phillies move to 5-0 vs. Padres

Morgan helps Phillies move to 5-0 vs. Padres

PHILADELPHIA -- If only the Phillies could play the Padres more frequently.

They beat San Diego on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park, 4-3. It is their fifth straight win over the Padres this season and seventh consecutive victory against San Diego in Philadelphia, their longest home winning streak against the Padres since a seven-game streak from July 1976 to May 1977.

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

Howard finding success facing only righties

Howard finding success facing only righties

PHILADELPHIA -- And then there were two.

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard said that earlier this month, when the Phillies traded Chase Utley to the Dodgers. It left Howard and Carlos Ruiz as the only two remaining members of the 2008 World Series championship 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.

9 years after surgery, Asher ready for debut

Righty had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow at 14 years old

9 years after surgery, Asher ready for debut

PHILADELPHIA -- This is the moment Alec Asher probably envisioned when he had Tommy John surgery at 14 years old.

Asher, 23, is one of the players the Phillies acquired from Texas last month in the Cole Hamels trade. He will make his big league debut on Sunday afternoon against the Padres at Citizens Bank Park, the second pitcher acquired in the trade to debut this season for the Phillies.

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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.

Nola continues to impress for Phillies

Nola continues to impress for Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies entered Friday night's series opener against the Padres on pace for 99 losses.

But that does not mean they are not worth watching the rest of the season. In fact, they should be quite interesting to follow because four out of every five games (or four out of every six, if they employ a six-man rotation once rosters expand on Tuesday) the Phillies will have a rookie pitcher on the mound.

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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.

Altherr enjoying his extra-base hit tear

Altherr enjoying his extra-base hit tear

PHILADELPHIA -- One of these days Aaron Altherr is going to hit a blooper, a chopper or a broken-bat bleeder.

One of these days he is going to get that first big league single.

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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 snap 4-game skid behind Nola

Phillies snap 4-game skid behind Nola

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies rookie Aaron Nola looks like the real deal.

He allowed two hits, one run, two walks and struck out six in seven innings on Friday night in a 7-1 victory over the Padres at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies' first-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft improved to 5-1 with a 3.26 ERA in eight big league starts.

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

Araujo placed on DL with strained left groin

Araujo placed on DL with strained left groin

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies placed left-hander Elvis Araujo on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with a strained left groin.

They recalled right-hander Nefi Ogando from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his place in the bullpen.

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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.

Double-A prospect Williams has a concussion

Catcher Alfaro to begin rehab assignment on Thursday

Double-A prospect Williams has a concussion

PHILADELPHIA -- Double-A Reading outfielder Nick Williams has looked like the real deal since the Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in July in the Cole Hamels trade.

But Williams, who posted a .902 OPS in 21 games since his arrival, suffered a concussion Wednesday when he collided with the Buffalo first baseman while running to first. The Phillies placed Williams on the seven-day disabled list Friday.

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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.

Young Phils compete, but just can't solve Mets

Club was in multiple contests during four-game series with division rivals

Young Phils compete, but just can't solve Mets

PHILADELPHIA -- Asked about the Phillies' week against the Mets, Jeff Francoeur just shook his head.

The Mets beat the Phillies in 13 innings Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park, 9-5, to complete the four-game sweep. It was the first time the Mets had swept the Phillies in a four-game series in Philadelphia since Sept. 6-9, 2002. The Phillies have lost nine consecutive games to New York, which is their longest skid against the Mets since a 10-game losing streak from Sept. 19, 1971, to June 28, 1972.

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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 can't hold on to early lead, fall to Mets in extras

Phils can't hold on to early lead, fall to Mets in extras

PHILADELPHIA -- In protecting an NL East lead that has stretched to 6 1/2 games, their largest cushion in eight years, the new-look Mets are setting offensive records on a near-nightly basis. But it's one of the longest-tenured Mets, Daniel Murphy, who is playing a significant role in the transformation.

Murphy hit a go-ahead two-run double Thursday and made a circus play on defense, leading the Mets to a 9-5, 13-inning win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets swept the four-game series in Philadelphia, set a franchise record with 73 runs in a seven-game span and have won seven in a row overall, grabbing their third winning streak of at least seven games this 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

Hayes fond of Philly, friendship with Jones

Former infielder formed strong bond, started academy with Phillies teammate

Hayes fond of Philly, friendship with Jones

Charlie Hayes was 24 years old when he was traded from the Giants to the Phillies. It was June 18, 1989. Future Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt had retired three weeks earlier. All Hayes was being asked to do was replace the best player in franchise history.

Hayes had his moments in red pinstripes. In the end, though, he didn't make the impact the Phillies front office might have hoped when they acquired him, along with Terry Mulholland and Dennis Cook, for closer Steve Bedrosian. Two-and-a-half years later, he was sent to the Yankees and went on to have 14-year career that also included stops with the Rockies, Pirates, Brewers and Astros.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Manfred: More safety netting being discussed

Manfred: More safety netting being discussed

PHILADELPHIA -- Commissioner Rob Manfred said discussions regarding extended safety netting at Major League ballparks are ongoing and that he hopes to make a recommendation to owners during quarterly meetings in Dallas in November.

Manfred made his remarks before Thursday night's game at Citizens Bank Park, a 9-5 Mets win over the Phillies in 13 innings, as he completed his goal of visiting all 30 clubs after succeeding Bud Selig in January.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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.