PHOENIX — When the Phillies took Alec Bohm out of the lineup for a few days last week to focus on additional pregame defensive drills, manager Joe Girardi referred to it as a “reset” for the young third baseman.
At what point does it become a benching?
Bohm didn’t start for a fifth consecutive game here Tuesday night in the opener of a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He likely won’t start Wednesday night either, according to Girardi, but could be back in the lineup Thursday when the Phillies face a lefty (Madison Bumgarner).
“I’m good,” Bohm said. “It is what it is.”
Bohm is batting .306 since June 1, but the root of his struggles have come with the glove. He has been among the worst defensive third basemen in baseball and made a costly error that was later changed to a hit at first base last week against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park.
With a starting rotation that tends to give up a lot of ground balls, including Tuesday night’s starter Kyle Gibson, Girardi has opted to start sure-handed utilityman Ronald Torreyes at third base. It doesn’t hurt either that Torreyes is batting .321 with an .873 OPS with runners in scoring position.
“This is a time of year that, if a guy’s playing well, he’s probably going to play,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. And that’s what Torreyes has done.”
Girardi could have used Bohm at first base. But with left-handed hitters having fared better against Diamondbacks starter Tyler Widener, Brad Miller started for the ninth time in 10 games.
Although Bohm has been able to concentrate on his defense with infield coach Juan Castro, he said the extra work is “nothing different” than when he was playing regularly. He also insisted that he’s in a good frame of mind, even if his disappointment was evident.
“No reason to be frustrated about anything,” Bohm said. “We’re in a playoff race. If one guy’s frustrated about playing, it’s going to bring everybody down. There’s no frustration.”
Until last week, Girardi stuck with Bohm despite an early-season slump and the defensive shortcomings. But if Bohm isn’t going to regain an everyday role, would the Phillies consider sending him to triple A?
That scenario is unlikely to arise until at least veteran infielder Freddy Galvis returns from the injured list. Galvis, who has missed two months with a quadriceps injury, began a minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday night for triple-A Lehigh Valley. He could be ready to play soon.
“It’s tough because [Bohm] is a kid that’s used to playing every day,” Girardi said. “Those are things that you have to balance. I still think that we believe in this kid. I wouldn’t send him in for double switches if I didn’t believe in the kid.
“Right now, you have to think about winning right now. It’s not April 15. It’s August-something.”
Hoskins getting close
Rhys Hoskins went through what Girardi described as “the most positive day we’ve had” and could return from the injured list as soon as Thursday.
Hoskins, who received a cortisone injection last Friday to aid the healing process, has missed 10 games — and 14 of the last 17. He said the injury bothers him more when he accelerates on the bases than when he hits or plays defense.
Center fielder Odúbel Herrera would’ve been in the lineup if not for soreness in his right ankle, a recurring problem that landed him on the injured list last month and flared late in Sunday’s game.
The Phillies believe Herrera’s heel will benefit from a few days out of the lineup. Travis Jankowski started in his place.
Zach Eflin (knee) threw a bullpen session. The Phillies are deciding between another live-batting session and a rehab assignment as the next step. … Vince Velasquez, who has been out with a blister on his right middle finger, struck out the side and allowed a hit in one inning of a minor-league assignment at low-A Clearwater. … Reliever Sam Coonrod (forearm) threw a scoreless inning for Lehigh Valley. … Lefty reliever Jose Alvarado (shoulder) played catch from 60 feet. ... From the Small World Department: Arizona outfielder/catcher Daulton Varsho, named for Darren Daulton, is the son of former Phillies coach Gary Varsho, who was Girardi’s first road roommate with the Chicago Cubs in 1989. … Lefty Ranger Suárez (5-3, 1.07 ERA) will face Diamondbacks right-hander Humberto Castellanos (0-1, 2.30). Suárez, making his fourth start, will be stretched out to 90-95 pitches, according to Girardi.