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'Really happy' Asdrubal mans SS in Phils debut

Kapler confident Pivetta will right ship over final 2 months of season
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CINCINNATI -- Asdrubal Cabrera had not played shortstop since last season, but he found himself manning the position in his Phillies debut in Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said Cabrera will play shortstop, second base, third base and possibly even left field. He said Scott Kingery will continue to see action at short. Cabrera went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the loss and didn't have a ball hit to him at shortstop.

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CINCINNATI -- Asdrubal Cabrera had not played shortstop since last season, but he found himself manning the position in his Phillies debut in Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said Cabrera will play shortstop, second base, third base and possibly even left field. He said Scott Kingery will continue to see action at short. Cabrera went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the loss and didn't have a ball hit to him at shortstop.

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"Wow," Cabrera said, asked about his comfort level at short. "I haven't played short for a little while, but I'm going to come here and work hard and do my best no matter what position they put me at."

Video: PHI@CIN: Harvey K's Cabrera in first AB with Phillies

The defensive metrics are not kind to Cabrera, regardless of his spot on the infield. He played only second base this season for the Mets, who traded him Friday to the Phillies for pitcher Franklyn Kilome. But Cabrera can hit. He is hitting .277 with 18 home runs, 58 RBIs and an .817 OPS.

"He's got a long track record of playing the position," Kapler said. "So while we're just looking at it for today's lineup, we've got a fly-ball pitcher on the mound and we're very confident that he can handle the balls that are in his vicinity. He doesn't have the same range that he once did, but we're also thinking about that and mitigating risk by putting him at shortstop at the right time."

Kapler spoke with Kingery about his future role with the team. The message: You will play a lot of shortstop and confidence in you remains high.

"I'm just going to show up and go about it the same way I do every day," Kingery said. "Obviously, he's a huge help to our lineup. Good bat, can hit from both sides, so that's big for us."

Video: PHI@CIN: Klentak talks about trading for Cabrera

Said Cabrera: "I'm really happy to be here now and be part of the Phillies. What I saw from the other side, they're really young. They're hungry to play baseball. They come in every day and play hard. I'm really happy to be here and be part of that group."

Gabe makes case for Pivetta
Nick Pivetta is 1-6 with a 6.84 ERA in 10 starts since June 1. He also has 66 strikeouts, 17 walks and 128 swings and misses in 48 2/3 innings in that stretch.

The Phillies remain convinced that Pivetta will straighten out over the final two months of the season. They are so convinced that they are not aggressively pursuing starting pitching help before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"I know that there is more external concern, but internally we are very, very confident in Nick Pivetta and his performance thus far," Kapler said.

Kapler cited xFIP, or expected Fielding Independent Pitching, a predictive statistic that attempts to estimate a pitcher's effectiveness without factoring in the defense behind him. It looks at strikeouts, walks, hit by pitches and fly balls allowed. Pivetta ranks 13th out of 78 qualified pitchers in baseball with a 3.25 xFIP, according to FanGraphs. The three pitchers directly ahead of him are Zack Greinke, Charlie Morton and Corey Kluber. The three pitchers ranked behind him are Aaron Nola, Carlos Carrasco and Justin Verlander.

Video: PHI@CIN: Pivetta fans 12 over 6 innings vs. Reds

"It's 15 of the best pitchers in baseball, and he's on that list with that group," Kapler said. "So what we're trying to do is just limit those moments of big damage, big contact. One hanging slider yesterday changed everything for Nick Pivetta."

Pivetta has allowed 11 home runs since June 1. He allowed five homers in 58 innings in his first 11 starts, when he went 4-3 with a 3.26 ERA.

"I think there is some chance involved," Kapler said. "First you have to hang a pitch or throw a very hittable pitch. And then the batter has to throw a swing on it where he squares it up. And then it's got to go in the air rather than on the ground, so there's some chance involved in it. I'm not saying that's all there is, but he certainly has the capability to make better pitches and locate his balls better. And that's probably the No. 1 most important factor."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Cincinnati Reds, Asdrubal Cabrera, Nick Pivetta