Charlie Manuel knows all about sitting the bench. After all, the Phillies manager spent the majority of his major league career riding the pine, which might be one reason he felt it was a good time to give Pat Burrell a rest and Jayson Werth an opportunity to showcase his stuff in leftfield.
"We just thought [Werth] needed some at-bats and wanted to give Pat a day to rest," Manuel saiod.
Werth demonstrated his talent in the outfield by making a spectacular catch on the warning track in the fourth, preserving Jamie Moyer's no-hitter for the time being in yesterday's 6-1 win over the Florida Marlins.
"It was a big part of the game," Werth said of the catch, on which he robbed Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera. "Right now I'm just trying to make the best of my opportunities whenever I can get them."
And he was able to get the job done at the plate as well.
With two outs in the sixth inning, Werth singled up the middle and drove in two runs to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead.
While Werth might not immediately see his playing time go up, his confidence will continue to skyrocket as long as he is presented with opportunities.
Werth said he was aware of Moyer's no-hitter - Cabrera broke it up with two outs in the seventh inning - but didn't want to focus on it too much in fear he would try too hard to make plays instead of letting them come to him.
Before the Phillies signed him as a free agent in the offseason, Werth missed the entire 2006 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers after having arthroscopic surgery in his left wrist. In the two seasons before the injury, Werth hit .248 with 23 home runs in 191 games with the Dodgers.
Manuel said he likes what he sees in the 27-year-old Werth and thinks he can be a key to the organization somewhere down the line.
"What he did today was exactly what he needs to do," Manuel said. "Werth has a lot of tools. He hits the ball about as far as anyone in the game. He just needs to cut down on his swing a little bit and harness his adrenaline and he has the potential of becoming a real good hitter."
Eaton's early woes
After giving up five runs through the first two innings of Saturday's 11-5 loss to the Marlins, pitching coach Rich Dubee is re-evaluating Adam Eaton's pregame and warmup routines on game days.
In five starts this season, Eaton(2-2, 7.71) has allowed 24 earned runs in 28 innings, and 12 of those runs were allowed in the first and second innings.
Dubee said Eaton is physically fine and believes when a pitcher starts a game sluggishly, it's more of a mental challenge to overcome than physical.
"He seems to be somewhat of a slow starter right now and we can't afford him being a slow starter right now," Dubee said. "If you're pitching against real good guys, the last thing you want to do is put your team in a hole. So we have to change something about that."
Eaton's next scheduled start is Thursday in San Francisco.
With the Phillies beginning the 10-game road trip tonight in Atlanta, Jimmy Rollins leads the National League in homers with nine, one ahead of Barry Bonds.
After three games in Atlanta, the Phils begin a four-game series in San Francisco on Thursday. When asked what it would be like to go to San Francisco with more home runs than Barry Bonds, Rollins joked: "Well, we have to go to Atlanta first. But if I do have the lead, oh man, am I going to get on him bad. But he doesn't care, he's just trying to hit 14 more."
Bonds is 14 shy of breaking Hank Aaron's career home-run record.
Centerfielder Aaron Rowand's career-high 16-game hitting streak came to an end. The streak was the longest by a Phillies righthanded hitter since Doug Glanville's 18-game streak in 1998 . . . For the second consecutive game, Abraham Nunez started at third in place of Wes Helms. Nunez was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run. *