Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said prior to Friday’s series opener with Cincinnati that Tommy Joseph is here to stay because the offense is “looking for an offensive jolt.”
While Joseph didn’t provide any sparks in his debut – going 0-for-2 with a walk and a run – he believes he can provide a big bat to a lineup in dire need of offensive production.
Following Friday’s contest, Joseph wasn’t seen around the locker room. That’s because he remained out on the field with a few friends and family that were able to catch his major league debut. Joseph stayed out there for a good 20 minutes before coming back inside to see only a few reporters still hanging around.
Before crossing over the locker room threshold, Joseph’s first words to a question thrown his way were “that was pretty darn cool.”
“I think I did a pretty good job of staying in the moment,” Joseph said. “I’ll remember every part of this day. That was one thing I wanted to make sure happened, that I kind of took it slow.”
After getting his “feet wet” — as manager Pete Mackanin described it — Joseph’s usage should start to come to the forefront. He’s believed to have a role similar to what Darin Ruf’s was, serving as relief to Ryan Howard when a left-hander is on the mound. That’s something he’s perfectly fine with.
Despite going hitless, it was pretty clear that Joseph’s swing can be effective at this level. He went up with a solid approach and was able to work the count. He saw six pitches in his first at-bat and five his second time around. In three at bats, he was able to see 14 pitches his way.
“He has a good approach and is relaxed at the plate,” Mackanin said. “I think he got that out of the way… I think he’ll be fine.”
Joseph arrives in Philadelphia after batting .347 with six homers and 17 RBI in 27 games with Lehigh Valley. With hitting like that, it would’ve been hard to keep him at Triple-A for much longer. The Phillies are hoping that will translate at the highest level because, quite frankly, they need it to.
“We’re not blind to the fact that our overall run differential this year is negative,” Klentak said.
Joseph is excited for the opportunity to contribute to the offense right away. He’s been watching the Phillies all season when his schedule at Lehigh Valley allowed him to. He knows that the “pitching and defense” have been the reason for this team’s success.
He wants to add hitting to that list and make the Phillies an all-around triple threat of a team that can pitch, hit and defend with the best of them.
It’ll be small steps, though. Joseph knows this and so do the players. That being said, the 24-year-old catcher-turned-first baseman is soaking this whole experience in.
“It’s great to not just take a tour of this clubhouse but to actually be in it and have my own locker,” Joseph said.
He doesn’t plan on having that locker vacated anytime soon.