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Phillies kickoff spring training with unfinished business on the mind

The wait is finally over — pitchers and catchers have reported to officially kickoff spring training for the 2024 MLB season.

It’s a new season, a fresh start. That doesn’t mean the outcome of the previous season isn’t weighing on the club, though.

2023 ended all too abruptly for everyone — players, coaches and fans. No one expected a Game 7 loss at home to the Diamondbacks that would send the Phillies packing for the offseason, rather than preparing for a second consecutive World Series appearance.

That isn’t exactly something you get over and move on from the next day. It leaves a lasting impression, a sour taste in the mouth. The lingering thoughts of what could have been.

It also adds fuel to the fire.

The Phillies were not happy about how their recent playoff run ended and enter this season with unfinished business on the mind.

“I think it sticks big time, it really does,” manager Rob Thomson said. “I think we all realize how close we were this year. We were the year before but we were in a really good spot this year and it got away from us.

“We have to make sure the next time we go through this that we put the hammer down and finish it.”

The Phillies are entering their 141st season with only 16 playoff appearances to their name. Each season that ends with October baseball is not one to be taken for granted … and the team knows it.

“We were a very good team, as you know and as we know,” Aaron Nola said. “Being in the playoffs for the first time for a lot of us, to finish it off in the world series, not winning it obviously, was a good accomplishment. Obviously we wanted to win it, but it was a good accomplishment.

“And then losing out how we did last year was tough. A lot tougher than losing in 2022. Just because we knew how to get to where we were in 2022 and we knew how hard it was. So last year, it was kind of a dagger. I think it’s going to make us a little more hungry this year.

“I believe we can get back and I believe everyone thinks we can get back to that point.”

Spring training games officially begin in 10 days, while the countdown to Opening Day is on.