Phillies, prospects square off Thursday in Reading

CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies departed Florida with the knowledge that they have young talent nearing the majors, a fact made clear in the early portion of camp, before the many prospects who had a taste of big-league spring life were demoted.

Now, in a creative touch, those young players will have a chance to play against the current Phillies.

The Phillies will play three exhibition games at home, including two "Phillies Futures" games. The first is Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, with the second Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. In between, the Baltimore Orioles will play the Phillies in an exhibition.

Phillies officials chose the 26-man roster for the Futures team, and it is a mix of both raw and advanced prospects.

Zach Eflin and Mark Appel will pitch Thursday night. Jake Thompson and Ricardo Pinto will pitch Saturday.

The Futures infielders are Brock Stassi, Rhys Hoskins, Tommy Joseph, Scott Kingery, Jesmuel Valentin, J.P. Crawford, Malquin Canelo, Angelo Mora, and Mitch Walding.

Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, Dylan Cozens, Aaron Brown, Carlos Tocci, and Andrew Pullin will play the outfield.

The catchers are Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro.

The available relievers are Edubray Ramos, Victor Arano, Miguel Nunez, Tom Windle, and Joely Rodriguez.

The real Phillies will use Thursday as a bullpen game, with Jeanmar Gomez, Brett Oberholtzer, Dalier Hinojosa, and Hector Neris scheduled to pitch. Aaron Nola will start Friday's game against Baltimore. Charlie Morton will start the Futures game on Saturday.

Thursday night's game in Reading will last just seven innings. It is the first exhibition game in Reading featuring the Phillies since 2000.

The end

For seven innings, reigning Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel cruised. He needed just 78 pitches to complete his shutout outing against the Phillies.

The Phillies erupted for eight runs in the eighth inning against Houston, capped by an Andres Blanco grand slam. They won, 8-4, and finished Grapefruit League play with a 15-10-3 record.

Starter Jeremy Hellickson made one mistake, a sinker that Jose Altuve launched for a three-run homer. Lefthanded reliever James Russell continued his solid spring with a scoreless outing. He struck out nine and walked none in seven appearances.

Extra bases

The Phillies will start the season with five players on the disabled list: Aaron Altherr (wrist), Cody Asche (rib cage), Matt Harrison (back), Mario Hollands (elbow), and Michael Mariot (ankle). . . . Quinn and Mora were honored before the final game with the Bill Giles and Larry Rojas Awards for their work this spring in minor-league camp. Mora, a 23-year-old infielder, began playing some outfield this spring to increase his versatility. He hit .312 with an .803 OPS last season at single and double A. . . . The Phillies re-signed Edward Mujica to a minor-league deal. The righthanded reliever will go to triple A. The Phillies had released him Tuesday.