Mayberry Looking For Right Answer

John Mayberry Jr. hit a home run in the sixth inning against the Reds on Monday. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Nobody knows whether John Mayberry Jr. factors into the Phillies plans for the future, but manager Charlie Manuel made it simple and clear what Mayberry has to do to earn consistent playing time.

“He has to hit right-handed pitching and has to be more consistent,” Manuel said after Mayberry went 3 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBIs in Monday’s 12-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Phillies have won three in a row and Mayberry is 6 for 13 with two home runs and five RBIs in those games.

“I think I am no different than really any other player," Mayberry said. "Just getting in there and getting your timing together is really going to really help you."

Manuel makes a good point about Mayberry hitting right-handers. After a good game against Reds righties, Mayberry is now 39 for 175 (.223) with four home run and 15 RBIs. Against left-handers he is 33 for 126 (.262) with seven home runs and 16 RBIs.

“When John has that good swing, he hits the ball hard,” Manuel said.

Mayberry, who turns 29 in December, offers the Phillies tremendous versatility. He has played right, center and left field in addition to first base.

Mayberry had 15 home runs in 267 at-bats last year. This year he already has 301 at-bats and is hitting .239 with 11 home runs and 33 RBIs. His on-base percentage is just .281.

That is what Manuel means about being more consistent. Mayberry has a team-high 80 strikeouts. The Phillies will try to determine whether Mayberry is a fourth outfielder, or could be an everyday player.

He is one of many players who need to show in the final month that he can be a valuable contributor.