The Phillies do not have to put together their final, 25-man roster for Opening Day for another week. But a clause in veteran infielder Yuniesky Betancourt's contract forced them into action on Sunday.
As a result, the makeup of the bench became somewhat clearer.
Following Sunday's game, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced the team had released Betancourt, thus opening the likely door for Freddy Galvis on the roster.
The 31-year-old Betancourt, a veteran of eight big league seasons, signed a minor league contract with the Phillies this winter. But the deal included an opt-out date; the team had to notify Betancourt by March 24 if he had made the 25-man roster, and if he did not, he was free to pursue a job elsewhere.
Following Sunday's game, Betancourt, who hit .447 this spring, became a free agent.
"It was a very difficult decision," Amaro said. "He played great for us. We had some other guys feel great, and we’re comfortable with where we are as far as those players are concerned."
Said Betancourt: "It’s a numbers game, I understand it, and I appreciate the fact that the organization gave me a shot to prove myself at the major league level. I think I did a good enough job to get on with another club, but I’d like to reinforce the fact that I’m appreciative of the Phillies for giving me a chance.”
Amaro said the Phillies had trade discussions involving Betancourt on Sunday, but couldn't consumate a deal.
By releasing Betancourt, Freddy Galvis is all but guaranteed a spot on the major league roster.
The only other players in camp who have played shortstop in their careers, other than starter Jimmy Rollins, are Kevin Frandsen and Pete Orr. Neither has been used at shortstop this spring.
"Freddy is pretty much a plus defender wherever you put him," Amaro said. "Charlie put him in right field and he makes a perfect throw to home. He’s not going to be playing a whole lot of right field or left field, probably, but he just has great instincts for the game and we have a great deal of respect for what he can bring to the table for us."
As for Frandsen over Betancourt?
"Betancourt has been a regular player; most of his career, he hans’t pinch hit at all," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Frandsen, when he got to play, he had a good season at Triple-A, but at the same time the 200 at-bats he got in the big leagues, he put together some real good at-bats and showed he can hit. What he did, that’s plays a part. And from Day One in spring training he's kept his bat going. We need hitters to come off the bench and hit and part-time play."
As the roster stands now, the only non-catchers in camp competing for the final bench job are Pete Orr and Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte.