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Kapler smoothing over early lineup concerns

Special to MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, naturally, wants his approach to work.

The 42-year-old skipper, whose team entered Saturday's game with the Marlins with a 2-4 mark, says everything he does is for the benefit of his players.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, naturally, wants his approach to work.

The 42-year-old skipper, whose team entered Saturday's game with the Marlins with a 2-4 mark, says everything he does is for the benefit of his players.

View Full Game Coverage

"I have worked to be close to my players, and will continue to,'' said Kapler. "I've been doing it since the offseason."

One of whom is outfielder Nick Williams, who hit .288 in 83 games in 2017, hitting 12 homers and driving in 55 runs with an OPS of .811, was frustrated after being left out of the starting lineup in the Phillies' home opener at Citizens Bank Park Thursday.

"I guess the computers are making the lineup, I don't know," said Williams. "I don't get any of it, but what can I do? I'm not going to complain about it because I have zero power. I'm just letting it ride."

Prior to Saturday's game, Kapler mentioned he talked things over with his outfielder, and matters are moving in a positive direction.

"[What Nick said] wasn't how he meant it,'' he said. "He came in this morning and we had a heart-to-heart talk. He'll be in the lineup Sunday. He's a terrific athlete.

"We want our players to want to play every day.''

Kapler seemed to admit there are ways of moving forward with such situations.

"We want to handle matters like this in a professional way -- a team way.''

Kapler also indicated J.P. Crawford will return to the Phillies lineup Sunday, after having his second game off in the first seven. Kapler has been looking at Scott Kingery at shortstop as well, who is in the lineup at short on Saturday.

Video: PHI@ATL: Kingery lines single for first career hit

"Scott has a lot of ability, and we want to see what he does at shortstop when J.P. needs a day off," Kapler said. "We want J.P. to be an offensive contributor, as well as playing outstanding defense.

"We've been tinkering with a few things. He'll be playing Sunday.''

Crawford seemed in lock-step with the program prior to Saturday's game.

"I'm working hard, and the hits will come,'' said Crawford. "I'm seeing pitches and things will progress. I really feel the vibe in the clubhouse is great.''

Kapler also agreed the cold weather can make it a challenge for some players.

"I know what it takes to play Major League Baseball, and I know how it is in cities like Philadelphia and New York in April,'' he said. "I played in Boston, Detroit and Colorado. That's fair.''

Neshek a month away

Reliever Pat Neshek said, "I felt better" after getting a cortisone shot Friday.

"I won't be able to throw for two weeks, then two weeks after that," Neshek said. "I would say it'll be about a month, but, the season is so long, maybe the timing of this is good. They may not remember when I was out when it's August."

Neshek signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Phillies in the offseason.

"I'm just a guy who wants to play baseball."

Jed Weisberger is a contributor to MLB.com.

Philadelphia Phillies