Gomez anchors as Mackanin sets bullpen

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“That’s the plan,” Mackanin said.

Neris notches the save

Mackanin met with his relief pitchers on Sunday, when he discussed their roles.

“I feel like I have interchangeable pieces now with Benoit and [Edubray] Ramos and Neshek,” Mackanin said.

Left-handers Adam Morgan and Joely Rodriguez are not traditional left-handed specialists, so it is unlikely early either enters a game to face just one lefty. Of course, that could change during the season.

“The nice thing about our right-handers is they all get lefties out pretty well,” Mackanin said. “I’m going to try to bring Joely around slowly.”

Late-game defense

Mackanin has two players on his bench who could be used as late-inning defensive replacements. Outfielder Aaron Altherr and first baseman Brock Stassi are both above-average defenders, but Mackanin said early in the season he plans to let left fielder Howie Kendrick, right fielder Michael Saunders and first baseman Tommy Joseph play.

Stassi's leaping catch

“I’ve read a few things about Kendrick, that he needed to be defensed for,” Mackanin said. “I don’t see that. I thought he did a great job this spring. Saunders has been fine in right field.

“A guy like Stassi is an above-average first baseman. Down the road, if I feel that it’s going to help us, I might put him in just because he’s so good. But Tommy has held his own. I don’t want to do it right away. I want to give Tommy a chance to show he needs to be or doesn’t need to be defensed for.”

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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