Josh Barfield, who is 10-for-21 with a pair of stolen bases, earns another look at second as the roster picture continues to get muddy.
Beerleaguer: The bench picture is less complicated if the Phillies carry only 11 pitchers, but the Phils are reportedly leaning toward 12, which I think makes the most sense to start out a season, particularly if Brad Lidge is less than 100 percent going in. If I had to guess, you'll see Kyle Kendrick, Danys Baez and the lefty with the hottest hand, either Mike Zagurski or Antonio Bastardo, round out the 'pen. Don't be surprised to see the Escalona Express Shuttle make several trips between Philly and Lehigh Valley this season, with bodies coming up and down frequently based on recent performance and upcoming match-ups. I see a lot of interchangeability with the bullpen.
So assuming the Phillies carry a five-man bench, the Phillies will juggle between several priorities, including second base and outfield depth, speed, versatility, pinch-hitting prowess, looming out clauses and Rule 5 guidelines. First, I think John Mayberry has won a spot on the roster and will be initially woven into the lineup as a pinch hitter/defensive replacement, but could work his way into the right field picture more over time. Wilson Valdez will assume most of the starts at second, but could take on a hybrid role, in which he also works as a double-switch defensive replacement, meaning another player could earn starts in the infield. Barfield could be that guy, based on his OK bat and the fact that he plays passably at second and third; he's seen action at both this spring. Matt Gelb of the Inquirer believes Barfield has an out clause. Rule 5 pick Michael Martinez is a dime-a-dozen banjo hitter who can play a number of positions, none of them exceedingly well, but he's a switch hitter with speed and can play in center field. The Phils could lose him back to the Nationals if they don't retain him on the roster. Lastly, Delwyn Young's versatility and ability to play right, and at second, might actually take a backseat to the fact that he's a decent pinch hit option, a switch hitter with power and good lifetime numbers as a pinch hitter. I see Young making it, too, and I'm leaning toward Barfield for the other spot, but could go either way.
Game chat: Blanton today. J Roll SS, Victorino CF, Ibanez LF, Howard 1B, Polanco 3B, Gload DH, Francisco RF, Ruiz C, Barfield 2B. Blanton P.