CLEARWATER, Fla. -- I don't want to spend too much time on John Mayberry Jr., who will start the season in triple-A Lehigh Valley, but I was struck by something Charlie Manuel said on Sunday when discussing Mayberry.

"Once he improves against righthanded pitchers, just like I told Jayson Werth, he's got a chance to be real good," Manuel said.

That's an interesting comparison to make. Let's look at both of Werth and Mayberry's age 25 seasons:

2004 (AGE 25) MLB
vs. RHP .249/.320/.421 219 PA
vs. LHP .290/.377/.624 107 PA

2009 (AGE 25) AAA
vs. RHP .242/.326/.475 270 PA
vs. LHP .304/.356/.405 87 PA

2009 (AGE 25) MLB
vs. RHP .150/.227/.300 22 PA
vs. LHP .243/.263/.568 38 PA

The numbers against righties are similar. Of course, we're looking at different levels of play, too, so keep this in mind. But Werth was very much a late bloomer as we're seeing now. Will Mayberry follow that path?

Manuel said he wants to see Mayberry have a quicker bat against righties. He said he still thinks Mayberry is a major-league player and spoke very highly of Mayberry's improvements since his brief stint with the Phillies during last season.

Obviously, Werth still is inferior against righties. But what he has done is raise his slugging. His batting average has remained steady despite a decrease in on-base percentage.

2007 (AGE 28) MLB
vs. RHP .257/.371/.389 198 PA
vs. LHP .375/.467/.591 106 PA

2008 (AGE 29) MLB
vs. RHP .255/.360/.407 311 PA
vs. LHP .303/.368/.652 171 PA

2009 (AGE 30) MLB
vs. RHP .256/.348/.457 488 PA
vs. LHP .302/.436/.644 188 PA

If Mayberry takes the next step, it will have to be soon. He could be a trading chip Ruben Amaro Jr. could look to cash in sometime soon. He also could be the first call-up should an outfielder get injured at the major-league level.

Regardless, we said it would be an important spring for Mayberry even though he had a slim to none chance of making the majors on opening day. Judging by what Manuel and Mayberry both said on Sunday, they are pleased with the way spring went.

Now we'll see what happens.