Phillies 2023 preview: a season unlike any other


Matt York

Phillies player Kyle Schwarber (12) being greeted in the dugout by his teammates after hitting a three run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of a baseball game.

Phillies Manager Rob Thomson got a glimpse at the revamped one-two combo he plans to use in the Phillies’ lineup to start the season on Sunday, March 12th, 2023.

Playing in his final game before leaving for the World Baseball Classic, Trea Turner led off Sunday’s 16-4 loss to the Blue Jays with a single. Then Kyle Schwarber, also heading to the Classic, hit a two-run shot for his first home run of the spring. Rhys Hoskins, making his first-base debut this spring, followed Schwarber’s homers with a base knock of his own out of his number-three spot.

Though Schwarber performed well in the leadoff spot last season, Thomson plans to use Turner at number one and Schwarber at number two to begin the season. As for Hoskins, Thomson hasn’t set on him at the regular number-three spot.

J.T. Realmuto, who went 4-for-8 with a home run before also heading out of camp for the World Baseball Classic, is another option to follow Schwarber. Alec Bohm, who is 5-for-14 with a pair of homers, and Nick Castellanos, looking to bounce back after a disappointing Phillies debut last year, are also possibilities.

Of course, the eventual return of Harper — who is hoping to be back before the All-Star break — could lead to another lineup adjustment. Harper primarily hit third last season and assuming he does so again upon rejoining the Phillies, it’s possible that Thomson will want to split up the lefties in Schwarber and Harper.

For now, the Phillies manager is just enjoying the early returns at the top of the lineup, particularly from Schwarber. After a slow start to the spring, Schwarber scorched a 111.7 mph single on Saturday, March 11, 2023, against the Pirates before connecting on Sunday, March 12, 2023, 108.4 mph, 414-foot homer.