Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips is a contributor at The Athletic and Sporting News, the Managing Editor of USA Today Sports' Jets Wire and a podcast host at Locked on Yankees. Phillips has previously worked for Bleacher Report, FanRag Sports, The Bergen Record, CNBC, NBC News,, The Journal Inquirer and The Journal News. A journalism graduate of Seton Hall, Class of 2017, he was Editor-in-Chief of The Setonian, the university's award-winning student newspaper. He can be reached at or 845-825-7030.

The Athletic

He had to retire the machetes from his act, but Marlins’ Derek Dietrich still loves to juggle

Huddled around J.B. Shuck’s cell phone in the visitors’ clubhouse at Citi Field, a group of Marlins can’t believe their eyes. Bewildered, they watch a video from August 2013. Pictured is a man wearing a Jacksonville Suns uniform as he entertains a crowd at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. He starts off slow, tossing three balls in the air. Then four. Then five. Then he moves on to bowling pins. Next, razor-sharp machetes cut through the air. Yes, they’re real. So are the torches.
Sporting News

Jason Giambi knows his future is back in an MLB dugout — just not yet

The only team Jason Giambi has any desire to coach right now is his son’s tee-ball squad, but he envisions moving up a few levels down the road. After spending a 20-year career with the Athletics, Yankees, Rockies and Indians, the former first baseman has enjoyed family life in Las Vegas since retiring following the 2014 season. With three kids ages 1 to 6, Giambi is in no rush to get back in the game. Yet he acknowledges he has managerial aspirations.
Sporting News

From Little League to Boston, Mookie Betts' mom has never stopped coaching him

The coach-pitch level of Little League offers little distance between the mound and the plate, but cat-like reflexes are rarely required when tossing to 4- and 5-year-olds. With her son at-bat, however, Diana Benedict was caught off guard. This was more than two decades ago, long before exit velo — not that children would have such tools at their disposal — but Benedict swears it was a "rocket."
Sporting News

Indians’ Trevor Bauer talks pine tar, spin rate, experiments and more

Indians hurler Trevor Bauer made waves last week when he suggested the use of foreign substances by pitchers was a rampant issue in baseball. Bauer, who has always taken a scientific approach to his career, said the implication was based on experiments he had performed to see what substances like pine tar could do to a pitcher’s spin rate. Speaking with Sporting News, Bauer discussed his research and why foreign substances and spin rates are such a big deal.
Sporting News

How Twins pitcher José Berríos got so darn good

José Berríos’ last start was like no other. Toeing the rubber at Estadio Hiram Bithorn on April 18, the 23-year-old had already proclaimed this night to be the biggest of his young career. The Bayamon, Puerto Rico, product was home, participating in a two-game series on the island between his Twins and the Indians. With somewhere between 150 and 200 of Berríos’ closest relatives and friends set to attend, Minnesota tweaked its rotation so that the right-hander could spend his homecoming on the mound.
Sporting News

Tampa native Denard Span at home in Rays uniform — and mom is thrilled

Denard Span was not impressed the first time he laid eyes on a Devil Rays uniform. The Tampa native was 14 or so and the team was brand new to Major League Baseball. In true 1990s style, the Devil Rays’ original home duds featured the team name in a spectrum of teal, green, yellow and purple on the front, underlined by the tail of a manta ray. The backs featured blocky names and numbers in all purple.
Sporting News

A chat with Godzilla: Hideki Matsui on Yankees job, Shohei Ohtani, and adjusting to America

NEW YORK — Hideki Matsui last played in the majors in 2012, but the international star still finds himself connected to the game. Known as Godzilla during a 20-year career that spanned Japan, New York, California and Tampa Bay, Matsui is now doing what he can to give back to baseball at multiple levels. Speaking with Sporting News, he talked about retirement, working for the Yankees, transitioning to America and more.
Sporting News

A Hiro on two continents: Tanaka’s big-game success dates to high school

It must take a lot of trust to commit $155 million to someone you’ve never actually seen at work. Brian Cashman had only watched video of Masahiro Tanaka before the pitcher signed with the Yankees prior to the 2014 season. Instead of flying across the Pacific Ocean himself, the general manager relied on the eyes of his scouts, notably Trey Hillman, to get a feel for the Japanese superstar.
Sporting News

Aaron Judge fuels power stroke with yoga, Pilates, alternative conditioning

David York couldn’t believe his future client was a baseball player. The owner of York’s Core & Fitness in Ventura, Calif., and PSI Sports Management’s official strength trainer, the fitness guru remembers making a home visit as part of a recruiting pitch in 2013. With PSI Sports Management agent Page Odle by his side, the two were going to lock up a sought-after local product out of Linden High School and Fresno State.
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