The calendar has moved to September. That usually means pumpkin spice added to everything, but in major league baseball, that means expanded rosters. The rules have changed and there are only two more roster spots, compared to a team being able to use their entire roster of 40 players. The Phillies used both on Thursday.
The Phillies announced Thursday afternoon that they were buying the pitching contract Vinny Nittoli and receiver Donny Sand.
Nittoli has just been acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade. Although trades generally cannot take place after the (usually) July 31 deadline, they can be made if a player had not appeared in the major leagues that year. Nittoli was a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on paper for just one day before he got the call.
A member of said IronPigs for the season was Sands. Sands was acquired in a trade from the New York Yankees (with reliever Nick Nelson) this offseason. Sands was hitting an impressive .308 with a .852 OPS in 211 at bats that included a brief stint in rehab at Class A Clearwater.
Sands played himself into perspective and added to the depth of the Phillies’ catching position which also includes Raphael Marchan. Marchan will remain with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, although he briefly played for the Phillies this season and last season. It’s common for teams to add a third receiver in September, given the demanding nature of the position.
Also remains at Triple-A is the first baseman Darick Hall. Hall hasn’t spent 10 days in the minor leagues since his option. But Hall is also stuck with Bryce Harper back to the designated spot for the batter. It remains to be seen if the Phillies will get a spot for Hall down the road.
Launcher Michel Plassmeyer impressed during his short stint with the Phillies, but he’s also ineligible to return for 10 days in the minors.
Meanwhile, the Phillies could see Zack Wheeler will make his next start next week against the Miami Marlins. Zach Eflin is continuing his rehab and could make a return to the Phillies’ roster as a reliever. Seranthony Dominguez could be one step closer to a comeback, but will likely make a first appearance in rehab before returning to the Phillies’ roster.