Scott Kingery has the type of at-bat Joe Girardi wants to see

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Jim Salisbury
·3 min read
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Phillies notes: Scott Kingery has the type of at-bat Joe Girardi wants to see originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Scott Kingery has been under the microscope in Phillies camp, trying to make adjustments to his swing and improve the quality of his at-bats.

Kingery struck out in his first two at-bats in Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays but came back with an excellent showing in his third and final at-bat of the day.

Facing hard-throwing right-hander Joel Payamps, Kingery finished an eight-pitch showdown with a base hit to the right side to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning.

Kingery fell behind in the count, 1-2, then fouled off four straight pitches before beating a pull-side shift on a 97-mph fastball away.

"Really good at-bat," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think it's important for him to have some success so he can build off it. 

"He's working his tail off trying to make his swing better and be productive."

Kingery is in a three-man race with Odubel Herrera and Roman Quinn for the starting center field job. In the evaluation process, Girardi has put a premium on quality at-bats while also asking Kingery to shorten his swing and adopt more of a gap-to-gap, line-drive approach. It's not easy to compete for a job and make mechanical changes at the same time. Kingery is just 4 for 30 (.133) with a double and a homer. He has walked just twice and struck out 14 times.

Quinn went 1 for 3 with a strikeout Saturday. He is 8 for 25 (.320) with three walks and nine strikeouts. His on-base percentage is .393.

Herrera, who did not play Saturday, is 7 for 29 (.241) with three homers, no walks and six strikeouts.

The Phils have just nine exhibition games remaining before opening day.

"We will continue to evaluate this till the very end," Girardi said. "That's what we're going to do, and we'll see what happens."

If Herrera wins the job, the Phils would have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Otherwise, he would just stay in the minors. Kingery can be sent to the minors if he doesn't make the club. Quinn is out of minor-league options so he either makes the team, gets traded or designated for assignment.

"Let's see what happens over these next eight or nine days and then we'll adjust our roster the way we need to," Girardi said.

BIG ARMS

Lefty reliever and potential closer Jose Alvarado struck out the side in the seventh. He got big-league hitters Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez on a total of 13 pitches. Eight of those pitches registered at 99 or 100 mph.

Archie Bradley, another closer candidate, pitched a scoreless inning and had his best fastball of the spring, hitting 95 mph.

IMPORTANT DAY

Zach Eflin and Spencer Howard will test their ailing backs in the bullpen Sunday. If Eflin passes the test, he should be able to jump back into the rotation during the week and get back on track to open the season on time. Eflin is ostensibly the Phillies' No. 3 starter, but he could be held back to the sixth game of the season, April 7, if he needs some extra time.

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