Mitch Walding hitting for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in a game against Buffalo on May 10, 2018. (Photo courtesy Cheryl Pursell)
Mitch Walding got himself on a plane for a cross-country flight to Los Angeles where he’ll meet up with his new teammates on the Philadelphia Phillies. The third base prospect will fill the roster spot of Pedro Florimon who suffered a broken foot Tuesday night when he fouled a ball off of his foot in his first at-bat of the night against the Dodgers.
Florimon continued his at-bat after the injury, not knowing that he had broken a bone near his big toe. The 31-year old utility player will be examined to determine whether the injury will require surgery. Until that evaluation, there’s no timetable for how long Florimon will be out of the lineup.
Walding, 25, was hitting 7-21-.271/.379/.484 in 48 games with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs this season. Last season he hit 25 home runs with double-a Reading, batting .236 in 99 games. Following the regular season, Walding was promoted to Lehigh Valley for the postseason, his first opportunity to play at the triple-a level. In four postseason games, Walding hit .222 (2-for-9) with two walks.
At the minor league level, Walding has played primarily at third base, but has seen time – 17 games – at first base.
While with Reading, Walding hit 13 home runs in June to lead all minor league hitters for the month. Ironically, that also tied him with Cody Bellinger for the most in affiliated baseball for June. Bellinger plays for the Dodgers, the first team that Walding will see as a major leaguer.
It could be a short stay for Walding, since shortstop J.P. Crawford started a rehab assignment Tuesday night with Clearwater going 0-for-3. Crawford has been on the DL since April 29th with a right forearm strain.
The Phillies will likely clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Walding by placing an injured player on the 60-day DL. Jerad Eickhoff and Roman Quinn would be likely candidates, however, depending on the evaluation of Florimon’s injury, he may be out long enough to warrant placing him on the 60-day DL.