When the Phillies acquired Rangers catching prospect Jorge Alfaro, he was out with an ankle injury that required surgery. Alfaro did not return in time for the 2015 season at any level. Alfaro now is just about ready to play baseball again:
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports the progress:
According to Joe Jordan, the team’s director of player development, Alfaro is working out in Clearwater and should be ready to join the La Guaira club in Venezuela in a few weeks. Phillies coach/instructor Jorge Velandia is the general manager of that club.
“We’ve been cautious with him, but we’re almost ready to turn him loose,” Jordan said of Alfaro. “The ankle is good, no issues. You can see that in his blocking and defensive work.
There are still some winter league options for Alfaro if he is ready to play.
As Salisbury notes, the Phillies will have to figure out how to play both catching prospect Andrew Knapp and Alfaro, as well as catcher Gabriel Lino, who is not considered to have the upside of either, but could find his way into the Major Leagues nonetheless. Lino is only 22 and likely needs some additional development.
Salisbury notes that Knapp has played outfield in the past and that Kapp is playing a bit at first base during the Arizona Fall League. However, that could be because the Glendale Desert Dogs are balancing three catchers and one first baseman. Alfaro could play some first base down the line, too.
While both Knapp and Alfaro have the greatest value as catchers, hopefully both play well enough that the Phillies have to make some tough decisions.