Prized rookie Bryson Stott has adventurous Phillies debut

Philadelphia Phillies' Bryson Stott is safe at second on an RBI double before Oakland Athletics second baseman Tony Kemp (5) can catch the throw during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 8, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson) APAP

Bryson Stott’s major-league debut mirrored that of the Phillies on Friday. It started well, became a little hairy in the middle and ended with a flourish. Stott was 2-for-4 with a double, run scored and RBI in the Phillies’ 9-5 Opening Day win over the Oakland A’s on Friday.

The third baseman made a couple nice plays early and collected his first major-league hit in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Phillies built a 6-1 lead.

But then Stott’s struggles on defense helped the A’s claw back into the game. He charged a ball and made a throw to first that Rhys Hoskins couldn’t handle - Hoskins was charged with an error - to open the seventh inning.

With two outs, Stott made a diving attempt for a hard-hit grounder that clipped off his glove, then he threw the ball away after bare-handing a slow roller, allowing a run to score that pulled the A’s to within 6-5.

But Stott shook off the shaky inning. He fielded ground balls for the first two outs in the eighth inning and added an RBI double in the bottom of the frame to put the game away.

“I kind of messed one up and allowed a run and to be able to get a couple more ground balls was awesome,” said Stott. “It’s just the next one. If I’m dwelling on that. you saw how many balls came to me right after that. 

You just try to keep that one under wraps and get back to it. I know I can make those plays, all the plays, trust in myself, believe in myself.”

Said Phillies manager Joe Girardi: “It says he’s pretty mature and he turned the page. That’s not easy, right? It’s Opening Day. You probably have jitters anyway, and you have two tough plays and he’s not able to make them. ... He didn’t have to make a play like that all spring. We’ll continue to work with him. To see him make two plays out of the gate shows a lot about his maturity.”

Stott, the first-round pick in the 2019 draft, is a natural shortstop but with Didi Gregorius in the final year of his contract, Stott will see most of his time at third base.

Stott said he has felt more comfortable playing third base the more he has worked with infield coach Bobby Dickerson. “He’s been working on my with the angles that are different than short,” said Stott. “We’ve been over there a lot. He’s been great.”

Stott - who talked before the game about how he does breathing exercises to keep his heart rate down - admitted it started to go up during the pre-game introductions. But the first ground ball calmed him down.