Nearly two months after fracturing a bone in his right hand on the eve of opening day, Mickey Moniak returned Monday from the Phillies’ injured list and started in center field.

“It was a long 7½ weeks,” Moniak said, “but who’s counting?”

Moniak will play “a lot,” manager Joe Girardi said at Citizens Bank Park before the former No. 1 overall pick went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and made a diving catch in center field in the Memorial Day opener of a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants.

The at-bats or Moniak figure to come at the expense of notoriously streaky Odúbel Herrera, who rode a 7-for-19 wave on the recently completed road trip to Atlanta and New York. Girardi said Herrera may see time in left field or right field.

» READ MORE: The Phillies have baseball’s hottest catching prospect. What does that mean for the trade deadline? And J.T. Realmuto?

The Phillies are hoping that Moniak can provide a spark. He won the center-field job in spring training before getting hit on the hand by a pitch in his last at-bat of the final exhibition game.

Moniak appeared to benefit from working with new hitting coach Kevin Long in spring training. Long moved Moniak closer to the plate, changing his stride direction, and spurring more rotation with his hips.

But any notion of Moniak as a possible savior for the swooning Phillies must be tempered by the reality that he was 6-for-47 (.128) with 22 strikeouts in 29 major-league games entering this season.

“I’m just trying to be myself,” Moniak said. “I’m trying to come here and be me, go out there and play baseball like I know I can. Me and K-Long talk about it: What can you put in the box at the end of the day? You might go 0-for-4 one day, but you made a great play on defense, you got a runner over, you hit a sac fly, ground ball with the infield back and less than two outs. Little things like that. That’s always the mindset.”

To open a roster spot for Moniak, the Phillies optioned left-hander Bailey Falter to triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Special tribute

In a pregame ceremony, Phillies managing partner John Middleton, actor Miles Teller, and American Gold Star Mothers past national president Judith Young of Moorestown, N.J., unveiled a chair of honor in Section 137.

The unoccupied seat will pay tribute to every mother who lost a son or daughter during active service and be dedicated to the memory of their loved ones.

» READ MORE: Giants manager Gabe Kapler stands on the field for national anthem on Memorial Day

Extra bases

Los Angeles Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani is scheduled to pitch Thursday at Yankee Stadium, which would mean the Phillies would have to contend with him only as a hitter. Ohtani entered the week with 11 homers and a .796 on-base plus slugging. ... With a stolen base Sunday night in New York, second baseman Jean Segura became the fifth active player with at least 200 doubles, 100 homers, and 200 steals, joining Jose Altuve, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, and Mike Trout. ... The Phillies hadn’t played at home on Memorial Day since 2016. ... Ranger Suárez (4-3, 4.74 ERA) will start Tuesday night against Giants right-hander Jakob Junis (2-1, 2.76).