MIAMI - Darnell Sweeney was getting ready to lead off and play center field in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night when he learned he was scratched from the lineup of the Dodgers' triple-A club. It didn't take much more than a scroll through Twitter to learn the reason.
Sweeney's manager later officially alerted him that he had been traded to the Phillies. If that wasn't enough news, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. called 20 minutes later and told Sweeney he was getting his first major-league promotion. Not only that, but the 24-year-old would meet the team at Miami's Marlins Park, about a 20-minute ride from his childhood home in Hollywood, Fla.
"I can't even explain the feeling," said Sweeney, one of the two players the Phillies acquired for Chase Utley. "It was unbelievable. That was the first time I can say I was really speechless."
Sweeney's first major-league at-bat came shortly after his arrival Thursday, a fifth-inning pop-out to second baseman Dee Gordon, his good friend from the Dodgers organization and an offseason workout partner. Sweeney did not start Friday's game. His role for the next six weeks figures to be that of a switch-hitting utility player with speed.
Versatility is Sweeney's biggest tool. He grew up a middle infielder but has also played the outfield. Despite little experience at third base, he might see time there this season. Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa put him through a workout at second and third base about five hours before Friday's game. Sweeney said he thinks his best position in the long run will be center field.
"He looked good," interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "We liked the way he looked at second base. He looked like he could play some third base. I haven't seen him in the outfield. He's got pretty good actions. I'll get him in the game here sooner or later."
With Mackanin already struggling to find enough at-bats for everyone, the Phillies likely won't add many position players when rosters expand Sept. 1. It's possible a third catcher is the only one.
"We've got to see what these guys can do," Amaro said Friday, referring to the young players already on the major-league roster.
That means, Amaro said, that fans will "probably not" get a September glimpse of hot-hitting double-A catcher Andrew Knapp or newly acquired outfielder Nick Williams, also in double A.
Cesar Jimenez, the lefthanded reliever the Phillies designated for assignment Thursday night, was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers. Jimenez, 30, recorded a 2.48 ERA in 361/3 innings over parts of the last three seasons with the Phillies. . . . Righthander John Richy, the other player the Phillies acquired in the Utley trade, is expected to join high-A Clearwater this weekend.
- Jake Kaplan