"It looks like he's been out there forever," the Phillies' first-year manager said after Kingery's two-hit Major League debut in a 5-4 victory over the Braves in 11 innings. "When you watched [Derek] Jeter on the field, the heartbeat seemed the same all the time. Nothing ever got too big for him. When I watch Kingery play, I get that same sense that his heart just beats at the same pace no matter what the situation is. It's very unusual. Pretty cool."
Kingery, who started at third base and is ranked as the Phillies' No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, struck out swinging on four pitches in his first at-bat in the second inning. But he ripped a single to center field in the fourth, barreling a 1-0 fastball from Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz at 108 mph, according to Statcast™.
"Getting that first one out of the way kind of lifts a big weight off your shoulders," Kingery said.
Kingery got the ball. He plans to give it to his parents.
Kingery hit another single to center field off Braves reliever Peter Moylan in the eighth. That ball left his bat at 108 mph, as well. He became the first Phillies rookie to have two hits in his debut since Domonic Brown on July 28, 2010. No Phillies rookie has had three hits in his debut since Denny Doyle had three on April 7, 1970.
Kingery, whose natural and best position is second base, had other adventures on the field. He had to run a long way to catch a tough popup in the first inning after moving to the other side of the field in a defensive shift. Freddie Freeman then advanced from first to third on a chopper on the right side of the infield in the eighth because he did not cover third. Freeman later scored the game-tying run.
"That's definitely mine," Kingery said. "More game experience will help me with those situations."
But overall, Kingery's first big league game was a memorable one.
"It's a special moment stepping on the field," Kingery said. "It's something you work for your whole life. It's incredible."