Ender Inciarte hasn’t played a professional game above Class A, and therefore, entered camp as a long shot to break camp with the Phillies.
But the Rule 5 centerfielder has impressed as the Phils enter their second full week of exhibition games. Inciarte, starting in center field in the home half of Sunday’s split squad, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Inciarte, 22, fueled the Phils offense in the third inning when he single, stole second base and then scored from second base on a Yuniesky Betancourt base hit. Inciarte deftly slid headfirst and away from the tag of Toronto catcher Henry Blanco on the play.
He also showed off a strong arm in center field throughout the game.
"He has really good first-step quickness and runs direct routes to the ball," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He looks fast running after the ball. He gets a good jump. I'll play him and we'll see. He seems like he's at home in our camp."
Needless to say, Manuel likes the kid. After Sunday's game, Manuel recalled the day last month when he first me Ender Inciarte.
"The first day we practiced I showed up at quarter-after five (in the morning)," Manuel said, "and he came in behind me and asked, 'Who do I see about getting a locker?' I said, 'What's your name?' And he told me, and I didn't recognize his name. So I told him, 'Put your bag down, come in and have some coffee with me.'
"Then he looked like he was worried or something. Then when I found out who he was and the equipment guys came in we hooked him up. He told me, 'I didn't want to be late for the first practice.' He was worried, you could tell."