Phillies option Hunter to Triple-A, call up Lough

Club also announces acquisition of Minor League OF Marte from O's

April 18th, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies announced Monday that they optioned outfielder Cedric Hunter to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and selected the contract of outfielder David Lough.

Lough was in the lineup in the Phillies' 5-2 loss to the Mets on Monday night, playing left field. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Lough will assume the same role Hunter had, primarily sharing time with Tyler Goeddel and Darin Ruf in left.

"We're just going to mix and match and see how David Lough looks," Mackanin said. "He's been in the big leagues before, so I know what to expect from him."

Philadelphia has struggled to find production anywhere offensively, but the problems have been especially pronounced in the corner-outfield spots. Phillies left fielders have combined for a .248 OPS, with just three hits in 40 at-bats over the team's first 13 games. Phillies right fielders also are last in baseball with a .485 OPS.

Hunter received 24 at-bats in left field, slashing .083/.120/.208. He hit .088 (3-for-34) overall.

"I told Cedric this afternoon that I know he's a better hitter than he's shown," Mackanin said. "But I think he's pressing. We just had to make a move to get something jump-started."

Lough was among the final cuts when the Phillies headed north from Spring Training. Through six games and 25 at-bats for Lehigh Valley, he hit .280 with one double. He hit .256 with one home run, five RBIs and a team-high 10 walks in 55 plate appearances during Spring Training.

"There wasn't much of a debate," Mackanin said. "We thought Lough was the best option right now."

Lough posted a .555 OPS in 144 plate appearances last season with the Orioles. He has a .672 OPS in 741 career plate appearances. Lough hopes a more patient approach at the plate will help him produce with the Phillies.

"In the past I've always been an aggressive hitter," Lough said. "I didn't draw a lot of walks. But this offseason, it's about being what type of hitter I am. It's getting on base, it's scoring a lot of runs, it's stealing bases, playing good defense. So I went into spring with a different mindset and approach at the plate. I obviously drew some walks and felt good at the plate in the spring, and it carried into the Triple-A season."

Will Venable, whom the Phillies signed near the end of Spring Training, was thought to be another option, but Mackanin said he hasn't been hitting enough at Triple-A. Venable has three hits in 24 at-bats for Lehigh Valley.

Prior to Monday's game, the Phillies also acquired Minor League outfielder Alfredo Marte from the Orioles for cash or a player to be named. Marte has played parts of three seasons in the Majors, most recently getting six at-bats for the Angels last season. In his career, the 27-year-old has a .532 OPS in 170 plate appearances. He had been playing for the Norfolk Tides, the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate, to start 2016.