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August 31, 2022

Phillies notes: Reliever Vinny Nittoli acquired in minor-league trade, '23 spring schedule released

And a note on Lee Thomas, the general manager for the '93 team who passed away at 86 on Wednesday

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Vinny-Nittoli-Phillies-Reliever-Seattle-Mariners-6.23.21-MLB.jpg Stephen Brashear/USA TODAY Sports

New Phillies reliever Vinny Nittoli pitching for the Seattle Mariners in June of last season.

With Seranthony Domínguez still on the shelf and the deadline for postseason eligibility looming, the Phillies added one more bullpen arm for the home stretch of the season on Wednesday.

The club acquired 31-year-old righthander Vinny Nittoli in a minor-league trade with the Blue Jays, sending 27-year-old High-A/Triple-A catcher Karl Ellison to Toronto in return.

The deal was first reported by ESPN's Jeff Passan then announced by the Phillies shortly after. Nittoli, who hasn't pitched in the majors this season, is expected to join the club once the rosters expand on September 1 and will be in the bullpen when it begins its three-game set out in San Francisco the next day. 

Nittoli has a 3.30 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP through 32 appearances in Toronto's minor-league system this year, including 2.79 ERA and 0.72 WHIP in 10 appearances with Triple-A Buffalo. 

His major-league experience, however, is an extremely small sample size as he pitched just one inning for the Seattle Mariners last summer on June 23, 2021 against Colorado. Trevor Story, still with the Rockies, tagged him for a two-run homer in what went on to be a 5-2 Mariners loss.

The Phillies will look to Nittoli to help try and get them by until Domínguez can return from the injured list (tricep tightness), possibly Zach Eflin too as he threw a bullpen session on Tuesday trying to work his way back from a knee injury. 

Working with the benefit of an easy schedule the past couple of weeks, the Phillies have been playing incredible baseball in the chase to lock down a postseason berth, but they hit a brutal rough patch in Arizona, having dropped the last two games to the Diamondbacks by a combined score of 25-10. 

They'll try and salvage a game out of the series in the finale Wednesday night before leaving for San Francisco to begin the final month of the regular season.

2023 Spring training schedule released

Looking ahead to next season, MLB released the 2023 spring training schedule. The Phillies will get started on Feb. 25 with split-squad matchups against the Yankees at home in Clearwater and Detroit on the road in Lakeland. 

The 32-game slate will wrap up with a home-and-home set against Toronto March 27-28, then the Phils will leave for Texas for the March 30 season opener to start a drastically rebalanced regular season schedule.

It'll be a full spring training after the lockout ate into things this year, but the World Baseball Classic will also be going on throughout, which J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper have already committed to Team USA for. 

Check out the full spring training schedule below via MLB.com's Todd Zolecki:

Lee Thomas passes away

A sad one to cap this off. 

Lee Thomas, the Phillies' general manager from 1988-1997, passed away in his St. Louis home on Wednesday. He was 86.

Thomas was the architect of the 1993 team that went from worst to first on the way to the NL pennant, headlined by the likes of John Kruk, Terry Mulholland, Curt Schilling, Lenny Dykstra, Milt Thompson, and Danny Jackson, who were all trade acquisitions or free-agent signings in the leadup to the miracle run. 

He also drafted Scott Rolen, who starred at third base for the team from 1996-2002 until he was dealt to St. Louis. 

“Lee was a great man and will be missed incredibly,” Phillies Chairman Emeritus Bill Giles said in a statement released by the club. “I will never forget all the fun we had watching the 1993 Phillies National League championship team that he put together. Through his leadership, Lee has left an indelible mark on Phillies history. My love goes out to his wife Susie and his entire family."

A native of St. Louis, Thomas played eight seasons and more than 1,000 games in the majors – with the Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, Braves, Cubs, and Astros – from 1961-1968 before wrapping up his career in the Cardinals' minor league system. 

From there, he transitioned into coaching and then eventually the Cardinals' front office, climbing the ranks into the club's director of player development until the Phillies came calling in 1988.

An indelible part of Philly sports lore followed just a few short years later. 

Thomas is survived by his wife Susie and his sons Matthew, Scott, Deron, and Daryl.

A few reactions to Thomas' passing from former players and local and national media members:


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