Moniak set for regular reps in center field

April 16th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- is going to play, and he is going to play often now that he replaced on the Phillies’ roster.

Haseley left the team on Wednesday for personal reasons. It is unclear if he will return this season. Moniak batted .273 (6-for-22) with two doubles, one triple, two home runs, two RBIs and a 1.112 OPS in 18 Grapefruit League games, but the Phils optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on March 23. The club said then that he needed more seasoning.

So, how did Moniak, ranked as Philadelphia's No. 12 prospect by MLB Pipeline, leapfrog Odúbel Herrera in only a couple weeks? Herrera, Haseley and Roman Quinn were the finalists for the final two spots on the Phillies’ Opening Day roster. Haseley and Quinn won those spots leaving Herrera, like Moniak, to start the season at the team’s alternate training site in Allentown, Pa.

“We just felt that Odúbel’s not quite there yet with consistent at-bats,” Phils manager Joe Girardi said on Friday afternoon. “We probably felt best about Mickey’s at-bats on a consistent basis, and that’s why we went that direction.

“There’s just some up and downs,” Girardi said about Herrera’s at-bats in Allentown. “When you call somebody up, you want them on a roll.”

Girardi said ownership remains OK with the front office promoting Herrera. The club would not have needed to make room for Herrera on the 40-man roster because Haseley has been placed on the restricted list, opening a spot.

“That has never been a problem,” Girardi said.

Herrera has not played for the Phillies since his May 2019 arrest and 85-game suspension by MLB for violating the league’s domestic abuse policy.

Moniak will play often against right-handed pitching. He also will play in center field. In four starts last season, Moniak started three in left and one in right. He played mostly center in the Minor Leagues.

“We feel like he’s going to do a pretty good job out there,” Girardi said. “We do. We’re comfortable with him in center field.”

Looking for a spark

Phils left fielder Andrew McCutchen batted .139 with a .279 on-base percentage through 12 games entering Friday’s series opener against the Cardinals.

Matt Joyce was 1-for-4 with two walks in two games in the leadoff spot. Girardi planned to hit Joyce first on Thursday against Mets ace Jacob deGrom before the game was rained out. Girardi said he likes Joyce’s ability to get on base against right-handed pitching.

Asked if Girardi could look for somebody else to hit first until McCutchen gets on track, Girardi said he likes “how the lineup goes down, when you look at J.T. [Realmuto] four, [Alec] Bohm five, Didi [Gregorius] six, those guys have done a pretty good job in those spots. I still think it’s pretty early to be shuffling everybody around in the lineup. We’ve played 12 games. We’ve had days off. It’s been kind of inconsistent. I just think it’s a little early for that.”

Three coaches not with team

Phillies hitting coach Joe Dillon, third-base coach Dusty Wathan and bullpen coach Dave Lundquist are not with the team because of COVID protocols, the club said. First-base coach Paco Figueroa coached third base in Friday night’s series opener against the Cardinals. Coaching assistant Bobby Meacham coached first base.