CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies on Tuesday released veteran infielder Ronny Cedeno.
Had the Phillies retained Cedeno beyond Tuesday, they would have had to add him to their 25-man roster or pay him a $100,000 bonus to go to Triple A. The club decided against both.
Cedeno, 31, has been a regular big-league shortstop during a nine-year career. His chances of making the club seemed to improve when backup shortstop Freddy Galvis was felled by a MRSA infection last week, but in the end the Phils opted to release him after he hit .182 (4 for 22) in 13 games.
Letting Cedeno go could be a sign that the Phillies believe they will get Galvis back sometime during the first few weeks of the season. It could also mean they are trying to bring in a shortstop from outside the organization.
Veteran Cesar Izturis is available after opting out of his contract with Houston on Monday.
There will be hurdles to adding a player from outside the organization, however.
The Phillies have 40-man roster issues. They currently have just three openings and will need room to add outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., who has had an excellent camp, and possibly Bobby Abreu, who is still in contention for a bench job. Also, the team might have to add a pitcher such as lefty Mario Hollands, who has been impressive. Infielder Reid Brignac, another non-roster player, remains in competition for a job. It’s also possible the Phillies will have to add a starting pitcher on April 13 and that could be David Buchanan or Jeff Manship. Neither is on the 40-man roster.
So, clearly, the Phillies will have to get creative in fitting players on their roster.
They may just be willing to cross their fingers that Jimmy Rollins stays healthy until Galvis comes back to provide backup. In a pinch, Cesar Hernandez can play shortstop. He also can play second base, third base and centerfield. In the minors, the Phillies have a top-quality defender in Andres Blanco should an emergency arise in April, but he, too, would have to be put on the 40-man roster.
Hernandez, already on the 40-man roster, appears to be a lock to make the team. Who will be the second reserve infielder? Stay tuned. One thing is for sure: It won’t be Ronny Cedeno.