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The Phillies made nine moves that answer some of the questions about the Opening Day roster

There are still 38 players in camp, but nine moves that were made Monday morning have brought the Phillies Opening Day roster into at least a little clearer focus. If nothing else, we now know who the fifth starter will be in 2016.

The moves were pretty straight forward, but their ramifications go much deeper when you look at who wasn't moved out of big league camp.

Optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley: LHPs Adam Morgan and Elvis Araujo, RHP Luis Garcia and OF Darnell Sweeney.

Reassigned to minor league camp: LHP Bobby LaFromboise, RHPs Reinier Roibal and Chris Leroux, C Logan Moore and INF Angelys Nina.

The biggest part of the cuts is that Vincent Velasquez steps into the role as the Phillies fifth starter. The 23-year old came over from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade after making his major league debut last June and pitching in 19 games - seven starts - for Houston, posting a 1-1 record with a 4.37 ERA. Velasquez and Morgan were locked in a battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, but the moves will leave Morgan at AAA to serve as insurance for during the regular season.

Sending out Araujo, who jumped from Double-A Reading to the majors last season and pitched well out of the Phillies bullpen, seems to signal that Rule 5 pick Daniel Stumpf, who the Phillies grabbed from the Royals organization, will make the team as a reliever. That plan is further backed up by sending another lefty, LaFromboise to minor league camp. It appears that the Phillies other Rule 5 selection, outfielder Tyler Goeddel will also make the club, since Sweeney was sent out. After making his major league debut last season with the Phillies, Sweeney likely hung around in camp longer than he would have if not for injuries to Aaron Altherr and Cody Asche.

Roibal, Leroux, Moore and Nina were never under any real consideration for the big league club, but were kept around to get a look and provide some extra bodies in spring training games. Exactly where they'll wind up is anybody's guess, because there is somewhat of a glut, especially among pitchers and catchers in the Phillies minor league system.

While the Phillies still have 13 cuts to make, some of them are easy. Lefties Matt Harrison (back issues) and Mario Hollands (Tommy John surgery) and outfielders Altherr and Asche are likely to open the season on the DL. Harrison and Altherr are likely to go on the 60-day DL, which would clear up two spots on the 40-man roster. It's not clear what the exact timetable is for Hollands to return, but he could potentially go on the 60-day DL, as well.

With David HernandezDalier HinojosaJeanmar Gomez and Brett Oberholtzer appearing to have locked up bullpen spots, and now, Stumpf apparently being added to the list, there are just two remaining spots for relievers. With Edward MujicaErnesto Frieri, Andrew Bailey and James Russell all still looking for bullpen jobs, there is still some competition to be played out. The Phillies have to let Mujica know on Tuesday (March 29) whether he has made the club or not and give him the option to opt-out of his minor league deal. Frieri has an opt-out that comes due on Thursday (March 31), while Bailey's opt-out date is May 1st and Russell's is June 1st. Based on the opt-out dates, the Phillies could take a longer look at Bailey and Russell by sending them to Lehigh Valley, but manager Pete Mackanin said the team could keep three lefties, so Russell is certainly still in the mix as the only left-hander among that group. Keeping a third left-hander would make sense if Stumpf, who hasn't pitched above Double-A, makes the club.

Outfielders David Lough and Cedric Hunter are still in the picture for a bench job, but the Phillies signed veteran outfielder Will Venable to a minor league deal Monday afternoon, which could affect both Lough and Hunter. Infielder Emmanuel Burriss is also still in the running, with just Andres Blanco on the roster to serve as a utility infielder. Sweeney could have provided help on both the infield and outfield, but with him being sent out, Burriss' chances appear to have gotten better. Darin Ruf, who is set to platoon with Ryan Howard at first base, could also provide some help in the outfield, if needed.


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