MIAMI - Although Pedro Feliz entered last night with just five hits in his previous 33 at-bats, and Greg Dobbs entered the same juncture with 14 hits in his previous 32, don't read too much into the fact that Dobbs has started the last two games at third base.
"[Feliz] is our regular third baseman," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Dobbs will play every now and then."
As hot as Dobbs' bat has been - he entered last night hitting .358 - Feliz has been as good as a defensive third baseman. And though Manuel believes his current average of .248 is well below what he is capable of hitting, he does have eight home runs and 30 RBI.
"He's everything that we got him for," Manuel said.
Dobbs, meanwhile, will wait patiently for his spot.
All he has done this season is establish himself as the best pinch-hitter in the league (he's hitting .438 with 11 RBI) while also performing in his limited starts (he's hit .293 in 13 of them).
But Dobbs also understands the situation he is in, and nothing short of an injury will get him regular playing time.
"At some point you have to put your ego aside and realize what's best for the team, especially the way they've been playing lately," Dobbs said. "But at the same time every one of us has a little bit of selfishness in us that wants to be that everyday guy, who wants to be in that lineup every day, so until that day happens, then I'll keep plugging away and working my tail off."
Dobbs' versatility is one of the big reasons why he is so valuable to the Phillies. But some think that if he does become an everyday player in the future, it will be in leftfield, where he has made two starts this season.
"I think he'd be a better player if he was on one spot," said first-base coach Davey Lopes, who also coaches the team's outfielders. "But that's not going to happen here . . . he's going to play third, he's going to play some left, some right."
Lopes said Dobbs will also have to prove he can hit lefthand pitching in order for a team - in Philadelphia or elsewhere - to give him a shot as a regular player. That might be frustrating for a player like Dobbs to hear - after all, he has only been given three at-bats against lefties this season and has done everything asked of him in other situations - but he says he does not allow any negativity to creep into his mind.
"I feel that at some point in my career, and I could be completely wrong, at some point in my career I will earn that somewhere," Dobbs said. "If it's not here, then somewhere else. Hopefully here, because I love it here. But that's my end goal. That's what I want to have happen. Right now, though, that's just not how our lineup mixes and matches, and I understood that coming into the season. I had no delusions of being the starting rightfielder or starting third baseman. I knew my role."
The Phillies have signed seven more draft picks to contracts, including 51st overall selection Anthony Gose, a 17-year-old outfielder from Bellflower (Calif.) High School. Other picks who signed: first baseman Jeremy Hamilton (5th round, Wright State University), third baseman Cody Overbeck (ninth round, University of Missisippi), second baseman Daniel Hargrave (22nd round, UNC-Wilmington), outfielder Brandon Haislet (23rd round, University of Hawaii) and outfielder Bryan Frew (43rd round, University of Nebraska-Omaha).
From the fun fact file
Five years ago today, Phillies closer Brad Lidge combined with five other pitchers to throw the first no-hitter against the Yankees in 45 years. Lidge pitched the sixth and seventh innings and picked up the decision in the Astros' 8-0 shutout of New York. Roy Oswalt started the game, but left after aggravating a groin injury in the second inning. Also involved: former Phillies closer Billy Wagner, who pitched the ninth, and current Phillies bench coach Jimy Williams, who was Astros manager at the time. *
For more Phillies coverage and opinion, read David Murphy's blog, High Cheese, at http://go.philly.com/highcheese.