The first in a series of vignettes from the Phillies Winter Tour in Reading focuses on the advice Charlie Manuel is giving 2004 first-round pick Greg Golson.
Recently, the Phils’ skipper has been holding daily batting practice and conducting drills with the 22-year-old outfielder. Although he’s still young, Manuel said now would be a good time for the athletic first-rounder to get it started.
“I want him to come in there [spring training] with a mindset to leave an impression, play as hard as he can and bear down more,” Manuel said. Golson will be invited to Clearwater as a non-roster invitee.
Manuel explained that much of Golson’s problem is mental, and that pushing the lead-off aspect of the game on him so early - right out of high school - may not have been the best approach. Manuel believes it’s caused him to become a defensive hitter of the worst kind, one who is constantly leery of getting behind in the count. Needless to say, a protective approach has not helped: Golson struck out 173 times last season.
Instead of batting him at the top of the lineup, Manuel would like to see him dropped to 6 or 7 where he can focus on nothing but hitting for now. Then, when he's comfortable, move him back up where his A-plus speed can shine.
"From a physical standpoint, he can definitely do it," Manuel said. "If you drop him down, and just let him swing, and learn to hit, he's going to be a good player."
Tomorrow: Finally something worth talking about. I'm sitting on plenty of great material from Manuel, Mike Arbuckle, Shane Victorino and J.C. Romero. The plan is to chop the interviews into small posts, like this one, since I covered a lot of ground, particularly with Manuel and Arbuckle. I was fortunate enough to get each of them one-on-one for about 20 minutes. The Vic interview will run as a podcast. Stay tuned ...