Phillies Notebook: Ruiz, Young Coming Soon, More Lineup Shakeups Likely For Phillies
Ben Revere handled it as best as his bosses could've asked.
When talking Thursday about hitting somewhere other than leadoff spot for the first time this season, and that somewhere being all the way down the Phillies lineup at the seven spot, the 24-year-old was visibly disappointed.
But he kept perspective.
He could always hit himself back to the top spot. Or, this could prove the perfect fix for his team's problems.
“We could drop 10 runs in the first inning,” he said with a laugh. “Then I’d tell Charlie to keep it the same.”
For Revere and the rest of the Phillies, that sentiment needs to catch on. Because lineup shuffles like this one are likely to be the norm for the immediate future.
Jimmy Rollins will lead off Game 1 against the Cardinals Thursday, with Freddy Galvis, playing for Dom Brown in left field, was tapped as Manuel’s two-hole hitter.
Brown left yesterday’s series-ending loss to the Reds with pain in his lower back, but x-rays were negative, he didn't even need an MRI and Manuel said he’s even available for tonight, let alone tomorrow.
But What happens when Brown returns?
“We’ll see,” Manuel said with a grin in the Phillies dugout on Thursday. “We ain’t gotten to tomorrow yet.”
There’s more. Carlos Ruiz is due back in 10 days and 10 games from Thursday from his 25-game suspension for his second positive amphetamine test. Delmon Young, according to GM Ruben Amaro on Thursday, “is doing fine” and “is progressing” with his rehab from offseason ankle surgery.
For now, with the Phillies hoping to gain traction during this pivotal 8-game homestand against the Cardinals and Pirates, Manuel could use Michael Young in the two-hole, with John Mayberry batting in the five-spot against lefties.
Or, maybe, more often than that.
Mayberry is better without the platoon advantage (.280/.400/.619 against righties) than with it (.250/.400/.250 against lefties), and gets on base against both.
Laynce Nix started 4 of 6 games in the road trip, and while he flashed impressive glove work, hit just 3 for 14 (.212) and is just 3 for 22 (.135) as a starter.
He’s also been potent off the bench, going 4 for 7 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI as a pinch-hitter. For a team that needs left-handed pop off the bench, Nix is it.
Still, Mayberry is in a dry spell, having gone 2 for 10 since Game 2 vs. the Mets.
Manuel said Galvis has every opportunity to win time – even in the outfield.
“I don’t even like to talk about Freddy,” he said. “I like Freddy to be who is. Freddy don’t gloat. He don’t brag. He don’t need attention. He just goes out and plays baseball because he likes it and he loves it. And you don’t have to go talk to him. All those things that I see in Freddy is I think he’s going to grow into a hitter. He knows how to play baseball and he’s determined.”
High praise, indeed.
Of course, much of Manuel’s decision-making will be done for him, by the relative performances of Revere, Rollins, Ruiz and Delmon Young, in the now and beyond.
Speaking on Revere, Manuel said:
“I told him that, to me, our lineup’s never set. It’s not like he won’t be back up in the leadoff hole sometime, or second sometimes or things like that. That’s definitely not definite.”
As for Revere, Manuel said he bumped him down the order because it looked like he was pressing.
“Maybe he’ll relax,” he said. “I think he has been pressing too much.”
If he is, the player couldn’t tell.
“Ahh, no,” Revere said when asked Thursday if he saw it that way. “It’s just coming to a new league. Of course you may struggle a little bit. One of the best hitters, (Albert) Pujols, kind of struggled last year in the A.L. with the Angels. It’s just learning new pitchers, pitch you differently, it’s just you know kind of got to switch up to a new game plan. I haven’t really been pressuring myself.”
Revere said the uptick in off-speed stuff deployed by NL hurlers had tripped him up.
Manuel said he saw that, too.
“Early in the count they throw off-speed and try to overpower him late,” he said.
Revere said he’s been hitting film study with hitting coach Steve Henderson to look for corrections – and to try to recapture what he teased in spring training, when he hit .326 with a .750 OPS. In 16 games that matter, he’s batting .194/.242/.194.
“I think Ben's going to be fine,” said Amaro. “I think Charlie's just trying to shake things up, get things going. “I don't blame Charlie for making these kind of changes. Ben's been struggling, Jimmy’s been struggling but he's had success in the one-hole. I think Ben's going to be fine.
“I think he just needs to start swinging it.”
Or walk. Maybe relax. But definitely produce, as is the case with the rest of the bats.
Either way, Revere is just one moving part in a highly fluid lineup situation for the foreseeable future.