SAN FRANCISCO -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler wasted no time in assimilating Jay Bruce back into the lineup, starting the 12-year veteran in left field and batting him fifth on Thursday against the Giants.
Bruce, 32, had not appeared for the Phillies since July 16, when he strained his right oblique in a game against the Dodgers. He owns a .230 batting average with 24 home runs and 57 RBIs in 80 games. That includes a .256 average with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 33 games with the Phillies, who obtained him on June 2 from Seattle along with cash considerations for utility man Jake Scheiner.
"Great to have J.B. back off the IL," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "He swung the bat really well for us leading up to his injury. We're excited to have a veteran hitter with 300 home runs under his belt and a lot of dirt in his spikes, and a tremendous competitor and teammate back in our lineup as well."
To clear roster room for Bruce, the Phillies optioned outfielder Adam Haseley to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Haseley impressed observers in his 24 games with Philadelphia, batting .274 with three homers and 12 RBIs. But Haseley had Minor League options remaining, unlike reserves such as Sean Rodriguez.
Realmuto gets a rest
Kapler cited climate and travel in explaining why he rested All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto in Thursday's series opener.
"We're traveling from Phoenix, where it's pretty easy to get dehydrated, and we got in late last night," Kapler said. "Any time you have that kind of travel, it's always valuable to respect your starting catcher, a guy who you really lean on. J.T.'s caught a lot of games for us. It's important to get him off his feet once in a while."
Moreover, Kapler added, Phils ace Aaron Nola has collaborated nicely with backup catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing one run in two games spanning 14 innings. So, with Nola facing the Giants, this represented an ideal opportunity for Knapp to receive some activity, Kapler reasoned.