In our chat session today, there were a lot of questions about the Phillies' outfield situation once Shane Victorino returns. After all, Raul Ibanez is the Phillies' hottest hitter, Jayson Werth leads the team with a .901 OPS, and rookie Domonic Brown has hardly looked over his head since debuting last week.
Well, Victorino isn't eligible to return from the disabled list until next Thursday, and he said today that his recovery might drag into that next week, so the Phillies have some time to figure things out.
I asked Charlie Manuel if he had thought about how he would handle the situation, and, predictably, he said he hadn't.
"I'm sure it will work itself," the Phils manager said.
Manuel has said several times -- the latest time coming today -- that he expects Brown to play between 60 and 70 percent of the time. Would he be able to get that kind of time with Victorino back in center field?
Ibanez has been the team's hottest hitter over the last month, when he has hit .358/.441/.547 with 6 doubles, 4 home runs, 17 RBI and 21 runs. On July 1, he was hitting .236. Heading into tonight's game, he is hitting .269.
You'd think that Brown could give Werth some days off against right-handed pitchers, except that Werth is actually hitting better against righties (.299, .931 OPS, 14 home runs) than against lefties (.271, .812 OPS, 1 HR) this season.
The most logical way to get Brown at-bats -- other than sending him back to the minors -- might be a platoon with Victorino.
The switch-hitting Victorino is hitting just .230/.295/.399 with 10 home runs in 291 ABs against right-handed pitchers. Against lefties, he is hitting .311/.370/.557 with 5 home runs in 106 ABs.
Brown doesn't play center field, but Werth does, which means the Phillies could use Brown in right against right-handed pitchers and have Victorino as a pinch-hitter/pinch-runner type.
Mix in some days off for Werth and Ibanez, and Manuel could certainly hit his target of playing Brown 60 to 70 percent of the time.
It'll be interesting to see what happens.