Odúbel Herrera knows that some Phillies fans will never forgive him for his actions in May 2019 in Atlantic City, N.J.
“I completely understand that some fans don’t like me,” Herrera said through the team’s interpreter on Tuesday afternoon at Busch Stadium. “I get that’s going to happen. Some fans will like me. Some fans will not like me. But all I can control right now is to keep working hard and do my best to gain their trust back.”
Herrera on Monday played for the Phillies for the first time since his arrest for simple assault of his girlfriend. The charge was dismissed, but Major League Baseball suspended him 85 games for violating the league’s domestic abuse policy. Herrera completed counseling sessions in Philadelphia and donated to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
He said he still speaks to a counselor occasionally on Zoom.
“There are a few things that I want to keep to myself,” Herrera said about his counseling sessions. “Some things that are private, but what I can share with you is that it has given me a sense of having way more responsibility, way more patience and how to be a better man.”
He remains with his girlfriend.
Herrera probably played well enough this spring to make the Phillies’ Opening Day roster -- many inside the organization thought he should have made the team -- but the Phillies chose Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley instead. Both struggled. Haseley has since left the team because of personal reasons. Mickey Moniak took Haseley’s place, but he also struggled.
Desperate for production in center field, the Phillies finally turned back to Herrera. Phillies manager Joe Girardi has been answering questions about Herrera’s return for months. So have Herrera’s teammates and the Phillies’ front office.
“Obviously, I don’t want to be a distraction to my teammates or anyone in the organization,” Herrera said. “That’s why I’m determined to show them that I am a changed man and that I am going to give my all. I’m going to leave it all out on the field for them to win games.”
Herrera will face Phillies fans in Philadelphia for the first time since his arrest on Friday night, when they open a series against the Mets.
He is expected to hear boos.
“I’m really going to try to be locked in to help the team,” he said. “That’s going to be my main focus. Because that’s what we’re here for.”
Cutch sits a second consecutive day
Girardi started Brad Miller in left field for the second consecutive game, but he said Andrew McCutchen will return to left field on Wednesday. McCutchen was batting .154 with a .531 OPS in 80 plate appearances entering Tuesday. Miller was batting .360 with an .865 OPS in 26 plate appearances.
“I thought I’d give him a couple days,” Girardi said. “Sometimes it refreshes you. Sometimes it will get you going.”
How did McCutchen take it? He is a former NL MVP and five-time NL All-Star.
“He was respectful,” Girardi said. “I don’t think he likes it. And that’s kind of the way you want it to be in a sense. He wants to be out there. We believe that he can still play at a high level and so does he, but sometimes just giving yourself a chance to hit the reset button can help players a lot, and that’s what I’m doing here.”
• Right-hander Archie Bradley is on the injured list with a strained left oblique. Girardi said there is no date for him to begin throwing off a mound, although he is playing catch from 120 feet.
• Second baseman Jean Segura is on the IL with a strained right quadriceps. Girardi said Segura is progressing, but there is no timetable for his return.
• Girardi said he has not considered moving J.T. Realmuto ahead of Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper in the lineup to give them more RBI opportunities. He said one reason is because he wants to have some protection behind Harper, so when Harper hits with runners in scoring position they do not automatically pitch around him.