Valdez in center field? Mayberry at first? It could happen

John Mayberry Jr. is taking reps at first base in addition to playing his normal outfield. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Charlie Manuel said today that the Phillies will get Wilson Valdez some playing time in the outfield during spring training in addition to his usual role in the infield. John Mayberry Jr. will get the opposite treatment, taking some reps at first base in addition to playing all three outfield positions.

Valdez could play some center field, where the Phillies will also feel the effect of Jayson Werth's departure. Werth was the team's back-up center fielder, playing there when Shane Victorino needed a break or went on the disabled list.

Ben Francisco can also play center field. Manuel said Francisco will get playing time at all three outfield positions this spring.


Domonic Brown has put on about 10 pounds of muscles. His arms are noticably bigger. The biggest change, however, is in his batting stance. Brown has dropped his hands in his set-up, which the Phillies feel will give him better coverage of the strike zone.

I talked to Greg Gross about this last week in a story that ran in the paper. But after watching Brown take batting practice today, I can tell you that the change is a little more evident than I had envisioned.

"I think that's going to put him in a better hitting position," Manuel said. "I just watched him in BP there today and I think that's going to really help his stroke. His approach is going to be much better. When you are really up here high, not only was he high, but he had a big wrap. He's got a make a real long cut to the ball. This is going to shorten his cut. . .He's a low-ball hitter when he's up here like this. Major League pitching, good pitching, they can beat that."


Other news:

1) Antonio Bastardo is slightly behind the other pitchers in camp

2) The Phillies have claimed RHP Brian Schlitter and designated RHP Andrew Carpenter for assignment.