MIAMI — It’s the No. 1 question the modern manager asks when making the batting order.
Who’s No. 2?
In New York, Aaron Judge has batted second in every game for the Yankees. For the Los Angeles Angels, it has been Mike Trout. In Chicago, the Cubs often use Kris Bryant in that spot.
The Phillies? Carlos Santana hit there in 25 of the first 27 games. And despite displaying his typical patience and keen eye (20 walks in 118 plate appearances), his .160 average and .592 OPS were glaring. The Phillies entered the week with a .605 OPS from the No. 2 spot, worst in the National League.
So manager Gabe Kapler did some tinkering before Monday night’s series opener here against the Miami Marlins, sliding Santana to the No. 5 spot and moving Rhys Hoskins – the Phillies’ best hitter – into the coveted No. 2 spot.
“We can use a little mixing and matching, a little positive shakeup at the top of our lineup just to make things feel fresh,” Kapler said. “Sometimes it can get a little stagnant. This is an opportunity to do that.”
Kapler didn’t frame the move as a demotion or a way to relieve pressure on Santana, who signed a three-year, $60 million contract in the offseason. If anything, he stressed the need for Santana to produce from a middle-of-the-order spot. And in 1,022 career plate appearances as a No. 5 hitter, Santana has an .866 OPS, which exceeds his .805 career mark.
Sure enough, Santana had a chance to deliver in the seventh inning of Monday night’s 8-4 loss. With the Phillies trailing by three runs and the bases loaded, he hit a sinking liner that was caught by Marlins right fielder Brian Anderson. It would have driven in a run, too, but Cesar Hernandez was too far up the line to get back to third base and tag up.
“We couldn’t be more confident in Carlos in that position. That’s why he’s here,” Kapler said. “It didn’t work out for him today. There are going to be a lot of days where it does. This is very early in the season. He’s a performer. He’s going to perform. He’s going to drive in runs for us.”
Arano to DL
Reliever Victor Arano, one of the Phillies’ most pleasant surprises through the season’s first month, was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock characterized the injury as “mild,” and Arano isn’t scheduled for additional testing beyond the MRI exam he received Monday morning in Philadelphia. Arano won’t throw for a few days and will likely be reevaluated when the Phillies are in Washington this weekend.
Arano, 23, has a 0.75 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 12 innings over 10 appearances. Righthander Zach Eflin, who is slated to start Tuesday night against the Marlins, was added to the roster.
Jorge Alfaro and Maikel Franco homered Monday night. Franco is 7-for-21 with two homers in his last six games. … Lefty reliever Zac Curtis was recalled from triple-A Lehigh Valley to take the roster spot that was vacated when righthander Jake Thompson was optioned after Sunday’s game. Curtis, 25, had a 2.61 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings for Lehigh Valley. … Righthander Mark Leiter (forearm) threw 20 pitches of live batting practice, the latest step in his rehab process. Righthander Jerad Eickhoff is slated to throw live batting practice today. Both pitchers are expected to be ready to rejoin the Phillies before the end of May.