Upon arriving in the Phillies’ clubhouse Monday in St. Louis, Odúbel Herrera received a straightforward greeting from manager Joe Girardi.

“I said, ‘You’re hitting seventh, you’re playing center field, go get ‘em,’ ” Girardi said. “He had a big smile on his face.”

And just like that, 21 games into the season – and 700 days after his arrest on assault charges at an Atlantic City casino – Herrera was the Phillies’ center fielder again, having been recalled from the alternate training site in Lehigh Valley to take the place of struggling rookie Mickey Moniak for a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

But Herrera won’t be welcomed back as warmly by some fans Friday night when the Phillies return to Citizens Bank Park or perhaps even by some teammates who aren’t as quick to forgive.

“He’s probably under more scrutiny than other players because of what happened,” Girardi said after the Phillies announced Herrera’s promotion on Twitter. “It’s very important that he understands that and lives up to that.”

Girardi said he didn’t see the need to call a meeting or solicit opinions of team leaders about the decision to call up Herrera. First baseman Rhys Hoskins, the Phillies’ player representative, wasn’t aware of any objections.

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The Phillies invited Herrera to their spring-training minicamp and allowed him to compete for the center-field job. And after getting almost no offense from a trio of center fielders – Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn, and Moniak – they are ready to give a turn to Herrera, a 29-year-old former All-Star who will make $10.35 million this season whether or not he’s in the majors.

“I think he’s really excited to have this opportunity to prove himself to his teammates, to the organization, and to the fan base,” Girardi said. “I think he’s really looking forward to that. He’s worked really hard to get this opportunity, and he’s got to make the most of it.

“We just thought it was time.”

Haseley, Quinn, and Moniak combined to go 7-for-69 (.101) with a .205 on-base percentage in 21 starts. The Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, and Washington Nationals have gotten a better OPS out of the pitcher’s spot than the Phillies’ .365 mark in center field.

Moniak, the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, went 3-for-25 with 12 strikeouts in nine games after replacing Haseley, who left the team April 14 for undisclosed personal reasons and was placed on the restricted list, opening the 40-man roster spot that now belongs to Herrera. Quinn, off to a 2-for-31 start, remains on the active roster but more as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.

As ugly as it has been, Girardi conceded that the Phillies might have tolerated a lack of offense in center field if the rest of the lineup was clicking. But they’ve gotten below-average production from left fielder Andrew McCutchen (.531 OPS through Sunday), third baseman Alec Bohm (.579), and shortstop Didi Gregorius (.665).

“I think the center fielders may feel a little bit of that [pressure] because it’s been talked about because it’s so glaring,” Girardi said. “I think Mickey’s going to be here a long time and be a very productive player. But for a young kid, he said, ‘Oh, this is my opportunity.’ There was probably a little bit too much excitement about it that probably cost him in some of his at-bats.”

The bar, then, figures to be raised for Herrera, who played poorly in the 12 months leading up to his arrest and subsequent suspension and has played only three games in winter ball, 17 in spring training, and a few more at the alternate site since his last major league game on May 26, 2019.

But he figures to be held to an even higher standard off the field.

Herrera was the last roster cut because he needed more at-bats after not playing for most of the last two years, according to Girardi and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who said ownership was on board with him making the team if he earned it on the field.

Herrera met with the team in spring training and said he has attended counseling and spent nearly two years regaining the trust of his girlfriend, who declined to press charges after an Atlantic City police report noted “hand print markings on her neck” and “small scratches” on her arms stemming from an incident on Memorial Day in 2019. He described the episode as a “big mistake.”

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It’s a nuanced issue. Reactions to Herrera’s presence in spring training varied. Aaron Nola said, “I believe in second chances.” Bryce Harper sternly said, “I’m not the maker. I’m not the person who can make that decision to forgive him or not forgive him. I’m not God. I’m going to let Odubel do his thing.”

Ultimately, though, Girardi doesn’t believe Herrera’s return will divide the clubhouse.

“I think if there was a big issue it would be brought to my attention,” he said, “and that has not been the case.”

Said Hoskins: “No one will condone what happened, even him. We have a pretty strong clubhouse that is going to be able to take care of what is going to come his way because there’s no telling what’s going to come. I think he knows that. He’s prepared for it. But at the end of the day, he just wants to play baseball, man.”

Herrera is among 13 players since 2016 who have been suspended for violating the domestic violence policy negotiated jointly by MLB and the Players’ Association. Nine have returned to the majors, seven with the teams that they were with at the time of their suspension, including New York Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán this season.

Teams are not permitted under the policy to issue supplemental discipline after a suspension is served.

“Some people aren’t going to necessarily like this decision, and those are feelings that people have and I respect that,” Girardi said. “Some people probably don’t care so much either way. And then there are probably going to be other people that are like, ‘Let’s see what he can do with his second chance.’ There’s probably going to be a myriad of emotions with our fans in the stands, and I get that. We’ll just deal with that as they come.”