Cutch out of leadoff spot? Girardi says no

April 20th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- Andrew McCutchen’s slow start has some wondering if Phillies manager Joe Girardi could drop him from the leadoff spot, at least until he gets going.

It is not a consideration. Not yet anyway.

“Sixteen games does not make a season,” Girardi said before Tuesday night’s game against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park. “You can look at his on-base [percentage] against right-handers, it’s not like it’s terrible. I know the average isn’t where we want it. I know it’s not where he wants it. But he has managed a way to get some walks and grind out some at-bats, but it’s not something that I’ve said that I’m going to do.”

McCutchen is batting .157 (8-for-51) with one home run, five RBIs and a .561 OPS. His .306 on-base percentage is the lowest of his career, 18 points lower than last season.

Girardi rested McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins on Tuesday night. Matt Joyce started in left field and hit first. Brad Miller started at first base. Rookie Nick Maton started for the second consecutive game at shortstop while Didi Gregorius recovers from a sore right elbow.

“He is better, definitely better,” Girardi said about Gregorius. “We’ll see what his availability is tonight, but we feel pretty good about the progress that he made overnight.”

“We’ve played 10 percent [of the schedule],” Girardi said. “It seems like a lot of games, but it’s only 10 percent. In this game, guys have tough two-week spans or even a month span sometimes. They eventually come out of it. You try to look at the back of their baseball card and say, ‘OK, who is this guy really?’ But, obviously it’s important for our club that we get him going and we’re going to do everything we can.

“To me it’s timing. Sometimes, it seems like he’s working uphill a little bit. At times I feel like he’s a second late and you have to try to catch up and that leads to ground balls. He’s a big feel guy. He just hasn’t felt it consistently this year, so I’m thinking a day off his legs might help him and give him a little bounce in his step tomorrow.”

Werth offers congrats to Maton

Nick Maton became the second player from Glenwood High School in Chatham, Ill., to make the big leagues, when he made his debut Monday night in a 2-0 loss to the Giants.

The other player from Glenwood High? Jayson Werth.

Werth played four seasons with the Phillies and seven with the Nationals, where he was teammates with Bryce Harper. Werth texted Harper on Monday, telling Maton congratulations on making the big leagues.

“That was pretty cool,” Maton said.

Maton, whose older brother Phil pitches for the Indians, singled in the sixth inning against Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman. Maton got the ball.

“I’m probably going to put it in a case and keep it around with me forever,” Maton said.

Extra bases

• Left-handers José Alvarado and Matt Moore, infielder Ronald Torreyes and coaches Joe Dillon, Dusty Wathan, Dave Lundquist, Paco Figueroa and Bobby Meacham remain in COVID-19 protocols. Moore is not going to start Friday night against the Rockies at Coors Field. Right-hander Vince Velasquez is expected to start instead.

• The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., reported that Scott Kingery has one hit and 12 strikeouts in his last 26 at-bats at the alternate site, including an 0-for-2 on Monday. “I think probably what’s going to happen is one day it’s just going to click and he’s going to feel good,” Girardi said. “And we really don’t have a timetable on that. It’s not from lack of effort. He’s working his tail off. His work has been better. It just hasn’t translated into the game. But that’s what we need to see and he’s working at it.”

• Many believed that Odúbel Herrera was the Phillies’ best option in center field coming out of Spring Training, but the organization chose Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley. After Haseley left the team last week for personal reasons, it chose Mickey Moniak to take his place. Phillies center fielders entered Tuesday without a hit since April 9. “We’re just looking for some consistency, and when we get that then we’ll evaluate him,” Girardi said about Herrera.

• The Phillies optioned left-handers Damon Jones and Cristopher Sánchez and recalled left-hander Bailey Falter and right-hander Ramón Rosso.