Mack­anin in­trigued by po­ten­tial of farm sys­tem stars

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaf­fery jm­c­caf­fery @21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> The Phillies gave their fans a glimpse at the fu­ture Tues­day, pre­sent­ing Paul Owens Award win­ners Dy­lan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins and Ben Lively in a pre-game Ci­ti­zens Bank Park cer­e­mony.

The ques­tion: How near is that fu­ture?

Hon­ored for their ex­cel­lent mi­nor-league sea­sons, the three play­ers are key to the Phillies’ re­build­ing process. The clos­est to the ma­jor leagues could be Cozens, who had 40 home runs and 125 RBIs at Read­ing. The left-handed hit­ting out­fielder did strike out 186 times.

“Ob­vi­ously, I don’t like the high strike­outs,” Pete Mack­anin said, be­fore the Phils’ 7-6 vic­tory over the Chicago White Sox. “That’s ob­vi­ously some­thing that has to be looked at. But if you are go­ing to strike out a lot and hit 40 home runs and drive in 120 runs, then I’ll take it.”

Cozens shared the Owens Award as the Phils’ top farm-sys­tem po­si­tion player with Hoskins, who had 38 home runs and 116 RBIs as a Read­ing first base­man. Hoskins struck out 125 times.

Lively was named the Phils’ top mi­nor-league pitcher after go­ing 18-5 with a 2.69 ERA for Read­ing and Al­len­town.

“If you pitch your butt off down there in the mi­nor leagues,” Lively said, “you’ll get your op­por­tu­nity up here.”

••• Jake Thomp­son’s first start against the White Sox in Au­gust was a chal­lenge, a 9-1 loss in which he al­lowed seven runs in five in­nings.

“But he is a dif­fer­ent pitcher now then he was against the White Sox the last time he pitched,” Mack­anin said be­fore the game. “I am anx­ious to see him.”

Thomp­son was bet­ter, last­ing an­other five in­nings and al­low­ing three hits, leav­ing with a 5-3 lead and earn­ing the win to im­prove to 3-5.

“The first time, I wasn’t able to spin the ball,” Thomp­son said. “I wasn’t able to throw strikes, for that mat­ter. So I just tried to start fresh. I went through, watched some video on them (to) see how they were swing­ing.”

••• Odubel Her­rera had three hits Tues­day, in­clud­ing his 15th home run, drove in three runs and stole two bases.

After a sec­ond-half slump, he’s back.

“I was a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed be­cause things were not work­ing out the way I wanted them to work out,” he said. “But thank­fully now things are bet­ter for me. I’m putting the work in and the re­sults are show­ing.”

••• Jean­mar Gomez con­tin­ues to sput­ter. He didn’t make it through the ninth Tues­day, al­low­ing three runs. Michael Mar­iot en­tered with two outs and recorded his first save.

Mack­anin is con­sid­er­ing chang­ing closers.

“I hate to do it, but I have to con­sider it,” the man­ager said. “Be­cause he hasn’t been him­self lately.”

••• NOTES >> Jerad Eick­hoff (10-14, 3.74 ERA) will face White Sox left-han­der Chris Sale (16-8, 3.03) Wed­nes­day night at 7:05 … The Phils start a fourgame se­ries in New York against the Mets Thurs­day.

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