Harper, Segura return for series vs. Braves

May 8th, 2021

Fresh off a four-game sweep of the Brewers, the good news kept coming for the Phillies on Friday as both and returned to the starting lineup for the club's series-opener against the Braves at Truist Park.

Harper started in right field and went 2-for-5 after missing the last four games -- and seven of the last eight -- with a sore left wrist, while Segura was at second base after being reinstated from the injured list. He had been sidelined since April 21 with a strained right quad but went 4-for-5 as the bottom half of the lineup powered a 12-2 win.

"I'm excited to have them both back," manager Joe Girardi said. "They both, before they went down, were swinging the bat great. Both were extremely hot, they were getting big hits for us and, obviously, they're staples in our lineup that we've been missing."

Harper entered Friday with a .446 OBP, third-best in the Majors behind only Mike Trout (.496) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.465). He had been particularly locked in of late, hitting .417 (15-for-36) with four homers and a 1.345 OPS over his last 10 games before a 97 mph fastball deflected off his face and onto his arm on April 28.

Segura, meanwhile, had a 10-game hitting streak -- during which he hit .429 -- before he pulled up while running to first base in an April 20 game against the Giants. His return relegated rookie infielder Nick Maton to the bench for Friday's series opener.

Maton is hitting .293 over his first 17 games, though he has cooled off after starting his career on a six-game hitting streak. The 24-year-old went 11-for-22 (.500) in those first six games, but he was just 6-for-36 (.167) in his last 11 entering Friday.

For now, Maton will be used off the bench for double switches or as a spot starter to give a starting infielder a night off, especially with Philadelphia in the midst of playing 17 straight days -- and 23 games in 24 days.

"I could see him getting starts at second and short, and as time goes on, at third. Just having him move around the infield more than anything right now," Girardi said. "[We have a] few more days until we have a day off, so we'll see how the guys are feeling. It's not going to be as consistent playing time, for sure."

Though Maton has taken some fly balls in center field recently, he's not considered an option to be the everyday center fielder at this point -- even with Roman Quinn (right index finger) on the IL and Mickey Moniak being optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he can get regular at-bats, to clear a spot for Segura.

Girardi said Maton will continue taking fly balls all over the outfield to increase his versatility for potential double-switch situations, but for now, the center-field job belongs to Odúbel Herrera. Scott Kingery remains on the big league roster as the backup.

Herrera went 1-for-3 in Thursday's 2-0 win, though all three balls were scorched. Along with his single that had a 106.7 mph exit velocity, he had a 105.7 mph groundout and a 102.4 mph lineout.

"Odúbel's starting to swing the bat a little bit better," Girardi said. "We want to see where this takes us."