Spencer Howard

Phillies draft pitcher Spencer Howard in the second round Monday night

The Phillies top two minor league prospects are among the 60 players eligible to play for Philadelphia this season.

Infielder Alec Bohm and pitcher Spencer Howard among the 53 players named by the Phillies on Sunday as eligible to play this season as the team took the first administrative steps to return from the COVID-19 pandemic. Major League teams had until 4 p.m. Sunday to name their 60-player pool eligible for this season. The Phillies are expected to open a training camp later this week at Citizens Bank Park and the Ashburn Complex at FDR Park in Philadelphia. The season is expected to start July 23.

Earlier on Sunday, the Phillies announced they had released Lower Cape May Regional High School graduate and outfielder Matt Szczur.

Szczur, 30, signed a minor league contract with the Phillies in the offseason, but a hamstring injury limited him to just one spring training at-bat before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sport.

The Phillies kept nine outfielders - Jay Bruce, Kyle Garlick, Bryce Harper, Adam Haseley, Mikie Mahtook, Nick Martini, Andrew McCutchen, Roman Quinn and Nick Williams - in their pool.

Odubel Herrera was not in the pool. Atlantic City Police arrested Herrera at Golden Nugget Atlantic City in connection with an alleged domestic violence incident in May 2019. The case against Herrera was dismissed in July of last year after the alleged victim declined to testify against Herrera, who had to finish counselling as a condition of the dismissal.

Herrera, 28, served an 85-game, season-ending suspension last year for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.

Bohm could be a possible designated hitter for the Phillies. The National League will use the DH this season.

Bohm, 23, hit 21 home runs and batted .305 with three minor league teams last season. He played third base but is also projected as a first baseman. There were questions about his defense, however. The DH answers those. The other question about Bohn is experience. He has never played triple-A baseball.

Howard, 23, struck out 94 and walked just 16 in 71 minor league innings last season. He too has never played above double-a.

Teams are able to keep 60 players in the their “pool” for the 2020 season. Teams will begin the season with an active roster of 30 players. That number will drop 28 two weeks into the season. Two weeks later, the roster drops to 26.

Teams can make changes to their 60-player pool throughout the season. Players not on the active roster will train at an alternate site since there is no minor league baseball this season. By naming 53 players Sunday, the Phillies left themselves some flexiblity with seven open spots. 

The Phillies made one other roster move Sunday, placing reliever Seranthony Dominguez on the 60-made disabled list with a right elbow sprain.

The following are the players in the Phillies 60-player pool:

Right-handed Pitchers: Víctor Arano, Jake Arrieta, Connor Brogdon, Enyel De Los Santos, Zach Eflin, Édgar García, Deolis Guerra, Spencer Howard, Tommy Hunter, Trevor Kelley, Mauricio Llovera, Reggie McClain, Héctor Neris, Aaron Nola, Bud Norris, Blake Parker, Nick Pivetta, Ramón Rosso, Addison Russ, Connor Seabold, Robert Stock, Vince Velasquez and Zack Wheeler.

Left-handed pitchers: José Alvarez, Garrett Cleavinger, Cole Irvin, Damon Jones, Francisco Liriano, Adam Morgan, JoJo Romero and Ranger Suárez.

Catchers: Deivy Grullón, Andrew Knapp and J.T. Realmuto.

Infielders: Alec Bohm, Logan Forsythe, Phil Gosselin, Didi Gregorius, Josh Harrison, Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Jean Segura, Ronald Torreyes and Neil Walker.

Outfielders: Jay Bruce, Kyle Garlick, Bryce Harper, Adam Haseley, Mikie Mahtook, Nick Martini, Andrew McCutchen, Roman Quinn and Nick Williams.

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