Opportunity is knocking again for John Mayberry Jr. after Mayberry squandered his chance at being a starting outfielder for the Phillies with a disappointing 2012 season.
But the Phillies have another gaping hole in the outfield. After enduring a rough spring training, Mayberry is digging in again. He’s been one of the first to the cage for batting practice this week.
“You have to work hard,” Mayberry said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”
“I still believe that John Mayberry can be a star in this league,” MLB analyst Mitch Williams said. “He has all the tools. He reminds me so much of Jayson Werth.”
Charlie Manuel, who agrees with Williams, recalls a conversation with Werth that relates to Mayberry.
“I told Werth, you’ve got to hit right-handed pitchers,” Manuel said. “Then he started hitting right-handed pitchers and he won a job.”
Manuel, who has no problem going with the hot hand, will platoon Mayberry and Laynce Nix until Delmon Young is ready to play in May. Will Young take over right field when he’s healthy?
“We’ll see,” Manuel said. “We’ll see when he arrives … I like Mayberry. He just has to put it together.”
Until Young is ready to play, Manuel will also mix in rookie Ezequiel Carrera in the outfield and even Freddy Galvis, who has yet to play in 2013.
“We have to give Galvis some playing time if we’re going to keep him up here,” Manuel said. “He can’t sit on the bench everyday. We want to give our infielders a rest. I might put him in the outfield. The thing is that if you don’t play, you lose your edge, especially when it comes to hitting. Freddy was swinging real good (in spring training). We got to get him some at bats.”
Ultimately, the hot hand reigns in Manuel’s world.
“That could be Mayberry,” Manuel said. “We’ll see.”
Notes: Even though Ben Revere is off to a slow start, Manuel likes what he sees.
“Ben showed in spring training what kind of hitter he is,” Manuel said. “He’s holding his own, stealing bags for us. I look for him to make solid contact and I don’t see him striking out a lot. He’s real good.”