A T-shirt in Brandon Marsh’s locker reminded him of his late father

Philadelphia Phillies

MIAMI — It’s been just over three years since Brandon Marsh lost his father, Jake, to a battle with cancer, but he still feels his presence in his day-to-day life. Sometimes, it’s a butterfly fluttering around the outfield, but on Friday afternoon, it was a T-shirt that unexpectedly appeared in his locker.

The T-shirt was brought to the team by Kristin Zeller, the Phillies’ director of retail marketing. Zeller is engaged to Keith Rudolf, the Phillies’ team chef. She orchestrated getting the shirts — which featured a viral quote that Marsh gave to the ESPN broadcast last Sunday — in stock. When asked which of his teammates he would include in a band, Marsh said Kyle Schwarber, Garrett Stubbs, and Cristian Pache.

He dubbed the band name “Stay Loose and Sexy, Baby.”

» READ MORE: Phillies’ Brandon Marsh returns home for the playoffs, just as his late father dreamed

Zeller designed the T-shirt around the Guns N’ Roses cross logo. She featured a picture of Schwarber, Stubbs, Pache, and Marsh, with “Stay Loose N Sexy” written on the top, “World Tour” written in the middle, and “Philadelphia Baseball” written on the bottom.

Guns N’ Roses was Jake’s favorite band. It was a coincidence, but it meant a lot to Marsh.

“I was like, ‘Dude, it’s meant to be,’” Marsh said.

The Phillies outfielder quickly distributed T-shirts to his teammates. Infielder Kody Clemens wore one during batting practice.

“He was just passing them around, and I was like, ‘I need a large,’” Clemens said.

As is the case with many of Marsh’s quotes, the catchphrase has taken a life of its own. He is enjoying it and joked that he and his teammates may have to head to the studio soon.

“I feel like I’ve got to come out with an album here or something,” Marsh said. “But it’s all fun. The thing that brings the fans and the players together. That’s what it’s all about.”

Marsh didn’t hesitate when asked what kind of music it would be.

“Rap,” he said.

The Phillies outfielder stays on the lookout for signs that his father is with him. Sometimes, they come from unexpected places. And sometimes, they come on a T-shirt.

“It was sick,” Marsh said. “When I saw the T-shirt, I told Keith, ‘Those were legit. Those were awesome.’ I’m going to be supporting it the whole way.”

Lots of lefties

The Phillies are going to face four lefties in a row over their next four games. Marsh and left-handed hitter Bryson Stott were out of the lineup on Friday, but manager Rob Thomson said they will start at some point over the next four days.

“I’m not going take them five days out without playing,” Thomson said. “There might be some pinch-hit opportunities. I will start them against a lefty here. I just haven’t figured out when I’m going to do it.”

Thomson said he’s going to base his decision on whether to start them on a combination of factors.

“It’s more splits and more history,” Thomson said. “Like, Stott has had pretty good success off of [Jesús] Luzardo, so he will probably start tomorrow. You’re weighing a whole bunch of things.”

» READ MORE: After two years apart, every day is Mother’s Day for the Phillies’ Jose Alvarado and his mom

Extra bases

Left-handed pitcher Kolby Allard was assigned to the FCL Phillies on Thursday. Thomson said it was a “reset,” but said he is fine, health-wise. Allard had 10.71 ERA through 19⅓ innings with triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, allowing 17 walks and recording 17 strikeouts. Yunior Marte (right shoulder inflammation) and Luis Ortiz (left ankle sprain) did not travel with the team to Miami. Marte threw out to roughly 150 feet on Friday in Philadelphia, and Ortiz will start his throwing program Saturday. Dylan Covey, who pulled a hamstring while conditioning, is at the Phillies’ facility in Clearwater, Fla., and is shut down.

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