Discussing the Phillies’ newest addition and oldest veteran.
Mayberry: Is there a greater myth in the development of players than the idea that a call-up must receive immediate playing time or else they’ll forget how to play? Bench duty didn’t hurt Chase Utley, who was a year younger than John Mayberry Jr. when he received his first promotions to the majors in 2003. Utley didn’t become a regular until midway through the 2005 season at age 26. Before that, he bounced between the Phils and Red Barons for two seasons at a time when his bat and glove still needed seasoning.
Even if Mayberry doesn’t become a daily fixture of Charlie Manuel’s lineup, he's not going to collect dust. Batting practice and drills consume hours and hours of a player’s schedule, and in Philadelphia, he’ll receive the best instruction possible. With the meat of the interleague schedule approaching, he’ll get his hacks in addition to pinch hitting, running and fielding. His tools give Manuel some late-game options. He’ll get his chances to start, too, possibly as early as tonight against the left-hander in the wake of Shane Victorino’s screw up and Jayson Werth’s recent slump. He’ll stay as long as he can keep up.
In Mayberry’s case, it’s also important to know what the future holds on a team as deep as the Phils. With Raul Ibanez, Victorino and Werth somewhat cemented in place, he may need to embrace a part-time role.
Moyer: Earlier, we discussed the club’s interest in Jason Marquis and the continued struggles of Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton. In the case of the defending champs, it’s never too early to think about October, where the Phils will be lined up against better competition. Moyer hasn’t performed well nearly the entire season, and against clubs like the Mets and Dodgers, he’s been hit especially hard. When eyeing the postseason, which is four cruel months away, there must be some trepidation over what the 46-year-old hurler will have left in the tank, remembering that two of his three postseason starts in 2008 were not so hot.
Forecast: If the game isn’t called tonight, it’s going to be a raw night at the park. A steady rain is expected to fall this evening with a 70 percent chance of precipitation. Lows of 55 with winds from the east at 10 to 15 mph.