5 Surprises on Philadelphia Phillies’ Opening Day Roster

5 Surprises on Phillies' Opening Day Roster

Phillies' High Five
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When the Philadelphia Phillies opened spring training in late February, few people were thinking a late-season cut, a minor-league pitcher and a pitcher who went 0-5 in the majors last season would make the team. But that's exactly what happened when the team released its opening-day roster on Saturday, and while the usual veterans are on the list, the Phils are counting on five surprises to provide some early-season juice.

5. John Mayberry Jr.

John Mayberry Jr.
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5. John Mayberry Jr.

John Mayberry Jr.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

John Mayberry’s spot on the roster might be more of a money move than anything else. It’s no secret that the Phillies have tried to ship Mayberry for the last couple of years but had no takers. Since they have to pay him for 2014, they might as well keep him. Mayberry is a late-inning defensive replacement who is versatile enough to play first base if needed.

4. Tony Gwynn Jr.

Tony Gwynn jr.
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4. Tony Gwynn Jr.

Tony Gwynn Jr.
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

While John Mayberry Jr. might not have earned his way onto the roster, at least Tony Gwynn Jr. did. The son of the former Hall of Famer by the same name can play all three outfield positions and has had four minor-league season in which he’s hit at least .300.

3. Jeff Manship

Jeff Manship
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jeff Manship

Jeff Manship
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Manship, the 14th-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2006, has had a largely undistinguished career so far, but his solid spring earned him the No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation for now. Last year in the big leagues, he was 0-5. This spring in 20 innings pitched, he was 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

2. Mario Hollands

Mario Hollands
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2. Mario Hollands

Mario Hollands
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Without a doubt, the most surprising addition to the Phillies’ opening-day group of pitchers is Mario Hollands, who never pitched in the majors before. Listed as 6-foot-5 and 220-pounds, Hollands had a 3.09 ERA in just 12 innings of work this spring. The highest level he’s ever reached is Triple A for a brief time in 2012, where he played for Phillies’ manager Ryne Sandberg.

1. Jayson Nix

Jayson Nix
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jayson Nix

Jayson Nix
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Leave it to the Phillies to go out and trade for a career .218 hitter, but that’s just what they did when they acquired Jayson Nix four days ago. The move did not set off a demand for Phils’ regular-season tickets, let’s put it that way. He had a decent spring with a .270 average but did not make the final cut of the Tampa Bay Rays. Nix provides some infield depth until Freddy Galvis comes back from his illness.

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