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Mackanin pulls Herrera for not hustling

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- Odubel Herrera continues to baffle and frustrate.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin pulled Herrera from Tuesday night's 5-0 loss to the Astros following his at-bat in the sixth inning. Herrera struck out swinging on a 1-2 curveball, but never bothered to run to first base when the pitch hit the dirt. Five innings earlier, a couple of Astros openly mocked Herrera's bat flip on a long flyout to center field in the first, mimicking him from the front row of the dugout.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Odubel Herrera continues to baffle and frustrate.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin pulled Herrera from Tuesday night's 5-0 loss to the Astros following his at-bat in the sixth inning. Herrera struck out swinging on a 1-2 curveball, but never bothered to run to first base when the pitch hit the dirt. Five innings earlier, a couple of Astros openly mocked Herrera's bat flip on a long flyout to center field in the first, mimicking him from the front row of the dugout.

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"Odubel does a lot for us," Mackanin said. "He's just a different character. We have to deal with him in a certain way. I'll have a nice talk with him tomorrow. He's going to be fine. He just needs a reminder."

Video: HOU@PHI: Mackanin on Herrera's struggles after loss

Mackanin has talked to Herrera -- who left the clubhouse before it opened to reporters -- about his mental lapses on the field. Third-base coach Juan Samuel has talked to him. Teammate Freddy Galvis has talked to him. Others have talked to him, too.

"Yeah, it's not a secret," Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp said. "It's talked about. If you guys are seeing it, we are seeing it. It is what it is. We can say it to him, Pete has said it to him. It's no secret, and when you don't do it, you put Pete in that position to do what he did."

Herrera just might be the best overall talent on the Phillies' 25-man roster, combining both offense and defense. He is hitting .272 with 32 doubles, one triple, nine homers, 36 RBIs and a .753 OPS. He has hit .331 with a .934 OPS since June 1. He had reached base safely in 24 of his previous 48 plate appearances before he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Tuesday.

Herrera leads the team with a 2.4 WAR, according to Stats Pass.

He certainly leads the league in bat flips. Astros pitcher Charlie Morton said he didn't care that Herrera launched his bat high into the air, because he played with Herrera briefly last season.

Video: HOU@PHI: Fisher hauls in Herrera's shot at the wall

"That's how he plays the game," Morton said.

But maybe because of Herrera's continued mental lapses or maybe because he continues to hit well down in the lineup, the team's hottest hitter has hit fifth, sixth or seventh in 23 of the previous 28 games.

Will Herrera ever just get it?

"I think that day will come," Mackanin said. "Let's put it this way: He's in a development stage as well."

But it doesn't make the wait any easier while it continues to happen.

"This is a team thing," Rupp said. "One guy just can't not follow the rules. It's not the first time. It's happened before. It's something we don't want to see. He's a good player, but you've got to do what you're asked. Pete doesn't ask a whole lot of us. He asks us to play the game hard, play the game the right way. Guys are going to make physical mistakes. Mental mistakes are something that you can control. Yeah, it's frustrating. There's no doubt about it.

"It's hard for us. He's a grown man. He has to learn on his own. We can only say so much."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Odubel Herrera