Phillies center field: Why Mickey Moniak was chosen over Odubel Herrera

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Jim Salisbury
·2 min read
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Phillies notes: Why the Phillies did not bring up Odubel Herrera originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Outfielder Odubel Herrera was essentially the last player cut when the Phillies finalized their roster at the end of spring training. So why wasn't he the first guy brought to the majors when the need for an outfielder arose earlier this week?

"We just felt Obubel is not quite there yet with consistent at-bats," manager Joe Girardi said Friday afternoon.

The Phillies recalled Mickey Moniak instead of adding Herrera or Scott Kingery. The opening was created when Adam Haseley took a leave of absence. Haseley is on the restricted list and does not count against the 40-man roster, so the Phils would have had room to add Herrera if they wanted to. Moniak (and Kingery, for that matter) was already on the 40-man roster. The Phillies have asked Kingery to make some significant swing adjustments and Girardi last week said he needed more time at the alternate site in Lehigh Valley.

"We felt best about Mickey's at-bats on a consistent basis and that's why we went that direction," Girardi said. 

Herrera has not played in the majors since May 26, 2019. He missed the remainder of that season while serving a suspension for violating Major League Baseball's policy against domestic violence. Herrera competed for the centerfield job in spring training and the Phillies ultimately went with a Haseley-Roman Quinn platoon.

While bringing Herrera to the majors could create a public relations headache for the Phillies, both Girardi and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski have said their decision to send Herrera to the alternate site was a baseball call. Girardi, echoing earlier comments from Dombrowski, said the baseball ops department has received the OK from ownership to bring Herrera up if the situation calls for it.

"That has never been a problem, since spring training," Girardi said.

Moniak, who played in eight games for the Phillies last season, was in the starting lineup in center field, batting eighth, Friday night against St. Louis.

Cutch stays put

Andrew McCutchen, despite a .139 batting average and a .279 on-base percentage, remained in the leadoff spot against right-hander Carlos Martinez. 

Girardi indicated that McCutchen would remain his primary leadoff man.

"I still think it's pretty early to be shuffling everybody around in the lineup," Girardi said. "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."

On the rotation

Girardi was not ready to say who would start Monday's series opener against the Giants. The Phils could use Zack Wheeler or Chase Anderson.

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