Zimmer 'going to make the best' of shot in CF

August 20th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Todd Zolecki's Phillies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Maybe Bradley Zimmer will have a Phillies moment.

They happen every year in pennant races. Somebody out of nowhere joins a team in August and comes up with a big hit, big catch or big play to help a team win a game or two (or more) in the season’s final few weeks. Phillies fans certainly remember the contributions from Matt Stairs and Scott Eyre in 2008 and Jamie Moyer in 2006. But there are snapshot moments -- one big swing, for example -- from players like Russell Branyan in 2007. 

Zimmer joined the Phillies because they were desperately thin in the outfield after Brandon Marsh suffered a couple of leg injuries Tuesday in Cincinnati. The Phillies placed Marsh on the 10-day injured list on Thursday. They claimed Zimmer off waivers from the Blue Jays to take his place. Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said the club thinks Marsh can return from the bone bruise in his left knee and a sprained left ankle soon after he is eligible to be activated on August 26. 

Zimmer started in center field Friday night against the Mets, going 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

“I’m excited to be a part of it,” Zimmer said. “I haven’t played a lot recently, but it sounds like I’m going to get an opportunity here. I’m going to make the best of it.” 

Zimmer slashed .105/.209/.237 in 77 games with the Blue Jays, who used him mostly as a late-inning defensive replacement. He entered Friday with just one plate appearance since July 22. He had just nine plate appearances since his last hit on July 2. 

“It’s a little weird,” Zimmer said. “You’re just sitting around, waiting for a call and the next thing you know you’re in the lineup.” 

Thomson said he will use Zimmer and Matt Vierling in center field until Marsh returns. Vierling started in left field on Friday because Kyle Schwarber is not ready to return to the field. Schwarber, who strained his calf on Aug. 11, rejoined the lineup Friday, but as a DH.