It’s been 20 months since a Phillies minor-league affiliate has played a game, and Josh Bonifay will savor the moment Tuesday night from the scout seats at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J. Bonifay, the Phillies’ director of player development, has spent the last year trying to push the team’s farm system forward through remote instruction and fundamental changes to the minors.

There were harsh realities along the way. Last week, the Phillies had to release almost 20 more players. MLB executed a hostile takeover of the minors and new stipulations capped every organization at 180 domestic farmhands to begin the 2021 season — a figure that includes 40-man roster players on optional assignments.





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