And the Cuts Just Keep on Coming

The Phillies made two more rounds of cuts Saturday, sending six players to minor league camp. Prior to the game against Tampa Bay, four pitchers were sent to minor league camp. Righties Ricardo Pinto and Enyel De Los Santos along with southpaws Cole Irvin and Brandon Leibrandt were all reassigned. Following the game, infielder Heiker Meneses and catcher Nick Rickles were also reassigned to minor league camp. The cuts leave 49 players remaining in camp.

The 24-year old Pinto made his major league debut last season, pitching in 25 games for the Phillies after transitioning from a starter to a reliever during the season. He will likely open the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and could likely be a part of the Phillies bullpen at some point during the season. Pinto is now out of options, meaning that next season he will either have to make the club out of Spring Training or the Phillies will risk losing him.

De Los Santos came to the Phillies in last December’s trade that sent Freddy Galvis to the San Diego Padres. The 22-year old isn’t on the Phillies 40-man roster and pitched at Double-A San Antonio last season in the Padres organization. In 26 games, 24 of which were starts, he went 10-6 with a 3.78 ERA. The Phillies will now have to decide whether to start him at Double-A or Triple-A this season.

Cole Irvin was drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2016 Draft after having previously been selected by both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched for both Clearwater and Reading last season and was a combined 9-9 with a 3.39 ERA in 24 starts and one relief appearance.

Fellow left-hander Brandon Leibrandt, 25, was taken in the sixth round of the 2014 Draft by the Phillies. He split his 2017 season between Reading and Lehigh Valley and was 11-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 136 2/3 innings of work. He will likely open the season in the IronPigs rotation. Last season with Lehigh Valley he was 5-3, 3.94 in 12 starts at Triple-A.

The Phillies signed Meneses as a minor league free agent in January after he played in both the Minnesota and Boston organizations since 2010. He started his professional career with Boston, having been signed as an international free agent and then signed with the Twins when he became a minor league free agent following the 2014 season. He was again a free agent following the 2016 season and re-signed with Boston and played at both Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket last season as a second and third baseman. The 26-year old is a career .251/.310/.328 hitter in the minors.

Rickles, 28, has been in the Phillies organization since May of last year when he was acquired in a trade with Washington. He played his first 26 games in the organization at Double-A Reading before being promoted to Lehigh Valley where he played in nine games. He opened the season at Double-A Harrisburg in the Nationals organization and is a career .246/.280/.375 hitter over six minor league seasons. Primarily a catcher, the Phillies have started working with Rickles to play first base where he has previously played 12 games in the minors.

Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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