The call was soon returned Monday and Michael Young was on the other end, speaking to his new manager. Charlie Manuel greeted his third baseman, and as the 68-year-old baseball lifer is wont to do, probably generated a few fresh lineup ideas in his mind.
"I could hit Michael Young in quite a few places," Manuel said.
Then Manuel stopped himself.
"Really," he said, "I could sit there and go over lineups all I want to. But when it gets down to it, who we have on the corners in the outfield will dictate where our lineup falls. You can say whatever you want to."
Manuel was in the basement of Citizens Bank Park before making an appearance at a Phillies charities holiday party, the beginning of his 10-day charity tour in Philadelphia. He was happy with Ruben Amaro Jr.'s two additions -- Young and centerfielder Ben Revere -- procured in two trades over four days.
But, like anyone, Manuel was thinking bigger. You know, middle-of-the-lineup-corner-outfielder big.
"I've been quiet about it," Manuel said. "I've just sat there because I like, so far, what we've done. I think we've made two good acquisitions to our team. I think we'll just wait and see. Our organization has always tried to improve our team. If there is any way we can, I think that's what we're going to do."
So, does Amaro have something up his sleeve?
"I'm not leaning into that," Manuel said, with a chuckle. "I'm always going to fish. Of course I want him to get something big. At the same time, I think we've gotten much better. Young is definitely going to help us and so is Ben."
The Phillies, with about $20 million to spend in their 2013 payroll, are in the market for a corner outfielder. The top remaining names are Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher and Cody Ross. Manuel prefers a righthanded power bat to slot somewhere in the middle. Hamilton hits left, Swisher is a switch hitter and Ross bats right.
Until then, there is no sense in scheming a lineup configuration.
Revere mostly hit second in Minnesota, but he could bat lower for Manuel. The manager is not keen on having three lefty hitters -- Revere, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard -- bundled together. Manuel relayed a scouting report on Revere from a friend in baseball.
"He says he's good fundamentally and loves to play," Manuel said. "He said he stays within himself and slaps the ball around. He knows how to play. He'll move the runners. He can bunt. He said he has a chance to be a good player in our lineup."
Manuel was energized after speaking with Young, who is expected to provide a strong leadership presence in the clubhouse. Manuel said Young assured him the delay in approving the trade was simply for his family and not baseball reasons.
Young, who received $1.2 million from Texas and a new no-trade clause from the Phillies to approve the deal, will be the everyday third baseman. Manuel downplayed the notion of needing a late-game defensive replacement for Young, who has not regularly played third since 2010.
"He definitely has a chance to hit .300 for us," Manuel said. "I look for him to have a big season. He's excited about coming. He's a good player."
Where he'll hit is unknown, and Manuel is content with that.
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