Although the slick fielding infielder was hitless in his last 17 at-bats, Ryne Sandberg inserted Freddy Galvis into his starting lineup on Saturday. He wanted strong defense behind Cliff Lee and he obviously wanted to give Galvis a chance to get going offensively.
Galvis went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. He's hitless in his last 22 at-bats and hitting .033 (1-30) since returning from the disabled list more than two weeks ago.
"He’s struggling," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I’m sure it’s been hard for him. I’m sure it’s weighing on him mentally. He just needs to flip one in, get a little dinker, so he can breathe. But I’ve been through it. I’ve lived it. It’s hard."
Amaro could relate because he was once hitting .067 after his first 23 games of the season back in 1994, his fourth year in the big leagues and first with the Cleveland Indians. Although his skid lasted more than two months, Amaro didn't play anywhere near as much as Galvis during that time: he had 15 at-bats (and one hit) over that period from late May to early August.
Since they value his superior defense off the bench, the Phillies are likely to keep Galvis on the major league roster and hope his bat breaks through. Cesar Hernandez, who began the regular season with the Phillies, is at Double-A Reading continuing to work at third base and shortstop in an attempt to increase his versatility.
Hernandez was used almost exclusively as a second baseman in his first seven season in the Phillies system, before he was introduced to center field last summer. Hernandez's center field experiment, however, is over.
"We’re not doing that anymore," Amaro said. "We think we’re better covered now with the guys we have, with Tony (Gwynn Jr.) here, (Marlon) Byrdie in a pinch if we need him to play. I think we’re covered there. (John) Mayberry (Jr.)"
Hernandez is hitting .354 with a .407 OBP, two double and a home run in 12 games in Reading. He was sent to Reading, rather than Triple-A Lehigh Valley, because the organization's top prospect, Maikel Franco, is playing third for the IronPigs.
"He’s done pretty well, he’s swinging the bat well," Amaro said of Hernandez. "He’s still learning. But he’s doing OK. He’s adjusting pretty good. He’s enthusiastic about it and going about it the right way, which is good. Anytime a guy is sent down to that level you wonder how they’re going to handle it mentally, but he’s handled it well. He’s working hard, working at it."