Phillies Spring Training is officially underway with the reporting of pitchers and catchers to Clearwater, where it’s 81 degrees and partly cloudy.

Joe Girardi spoke for about 25 minutes today on a variety of topics, and of course he was asked about hustle, which became a hot-button issue with Gabe Kapler last season. On the question of accountability, Girardi said he’d handle hustling concerns in this manner:

“I believe it’s almost like a temper tantrum, and its helping players to control their emotions. That’s what it is for me. I’ll bring up an example – we all know Bryce (Harper) plays hard every day, and he runs hard all the time. All of a sudden, Bryce doesn’t run out a ball in the sixth inning for whatever reason, then I take him out of the game, and you’re down a run, with runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs, and Bryce Harper is not your hitter because I took him out of the game. There’s a trade off there. There’s a huge trade off there. Myself, the front office, all the players on the team, all the fans would love to have Bryce Harper up in that situation, a guy who hits well over .300 with runners in scoring position and men on base. All of a sudden, because he didn’t run a ball out, I take him out.

It’s something that obviously is really important to the city of Philadelphia, to all Philadelphia fans, that players work hard. And that’s something that we will talk about all the time. As far as being an exact policy, I’ll deal with each guy on an individual basis.

But it’s important to me. It’s important to grind out every day. You see situations where sometimes games are lost because a guy didn’t hustle. Or he hits a ball to the fence that he thinks is a home run and he ends up on 2nd base instead of 3rd base and you lose a game. To me that’s unacceptable. It’s about helping them control their mind.”

I like that answer. There’s a push and pull when it comes to discipline. Each situation is different. There shouldn’t be any sort of “one size fits all” blanket policy. It’s also nice to hear the Phillies manager speak plainly, like a normal person.

Here are some other notes from Girardi’s availability:

  • He doesn’t feel the need to have a team meeting to address the cheating situation with the Astros. They’ll do what’s necessary to protect their signs and signals.
  • He’ll meet tomorrow with pitchers and catchers, a short meeting to get things started.
  • Not really worried about external pressure to win, because he has his own pressure that comes from within.
  • Both Jean Segura and Scott Kingery will get third base reps. 
  • He thinks J.T. Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball.
  • David Robertson is “doing great,” but not ready to play. Doesn’t know if he’ll play in 2020 (Robertson underwent Tommy John surgery in August).
  • on Andrew McCutchen: “don’t be surprised if we take it slow with him in Spring Training… there’s no rush to get him in”
  • Bryce Harper is more comfortable and should have a big second year.
  • Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, and Didi Gregorius are already in camp.
  • Seranthony Dominguez and Adam Morgan – “we will also take it slow with them in Spring Training and see where they’re at physically
  • There was a lengthy answer where he basically explained that feels like he’s higher on the farm system than fans and media.
  • He doesn’t want to wear out Hector Neris early, feels like he needs much more than one reliever to win a division and needs a group effort and balanced workload from the bullpen.
  • He feels like there’s enough in the starting pitching group, but thinks “we have a really good number of starting pitchers here that will compete for spots 4 and 5
  • He thinks Philly is a great sports town and likes how athletes go watch other games during their free time.

Here’s the full video for your viewing pleasure: