Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mayberry earning more playing time

A year after playing himself out of the regular lineup, John Mayberry Jr. has hit himself into the lineup during the first week of the season.

Mayberry earning more playing time

John Mayberry Jr. (David Goldman/AP)
John Mayberry Jr. (David Goldman/AP)

John Mayberry Jr. knocked in the game’s first two runs and finished Tuesday night 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBI in the Phillies win over the Mets. So it wasn’t too surprising when his name was back in the starting lineup on Wednesday.

Mayberry has started five of the first nine games in right field, the only position on the field where the Phillies don’t have an obvious starter.

Veteran Delmon Young began the season on the disabled list and neither Mayberry or Laynce Nix did anything to win a job this spring. They hit a combined .196 with nine extra-base hits during Grapefruit League play.

But a little over a week into the regular season, Mayberry entered play on Wednesday hitting .333 with a home run, three doubles, four walks and four strikeouts in seven games.

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The streaky Mayberry has hit well in spurts before, most notably at the end of the 2011 season, which paved the way for his appearance in the 2012 starting lineup. But he soon slumped and veteran Juan Pierre earned more regular playing time.

Is it still possible for Mayberry to still get an everyday job?

“The better you play, you definitely can play yourself into being on the field to play,” Manuel said. “I’ve always said that about him.  I used to compare him to Jayson Werth because Jayson used to come in and ask me why he wasn’t playing and I’d say you have to hit right-handed pitchers better. And he started hitting righthanded pitchers and he won a job. That’s kind of how it goes.”

Werth memorably dropped a video tape of personal highlights on Manuel’s desk one day.

So has Mayberry showed the same initiative?

“I’ve probably talk to John about that 3 or 4 times over the course of the last couple of years,” Manuel said.

Then again, as the manager likes to say, the Louisville can do the talking, too.

Daily News Staff Writer
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