CLEARWATER, Fla. - A spring training experiment is starting to look more and more like the Phillies' opening-day outfield alignment.
Each day that manager Ryne Sandberg uses his new-look outfield increases the chances that it will appear that way April 6 against the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park.
Odubel Herrera and Ben Revere spent the last four games in center field and left field, respectively. Only eight games remain on the team's Grapefruit League schedule.
"I'll continue to look at different options and different things," Sandberg said.
"Ben's getting some games played under his belt in left field, in case that's the way that I'd like to go, and Herrera continues to be in center field, along with some other options that I have with lineups going forward. But, right now for Ben to get some work out there, that's the idea there for him in left."
The new alignment, unveiled Saturday in a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, better suits both outfielders' arms. The weaker-armed Revere played all three outfield spots as a minor-leaguer and logged 20 games in left field while with the Minnesota Twins from 2010 to 2012.
Herrera, a natural second baseman, spent winter ball in his native Venezuela as a centerfielder.
"I just look at the lineup, see where I'm at, and then just go there," said Revere, the Phillies' everyday centerfielder for the last two seasons. "It's just one of those deals where wherever they put me, I'm ready to play."
Herrera's status this spring evolved from unknown Rule 5 draft pick to likely roster candidate to potential starter. The energetic 23-year-old leads the Phillies this spring with 16 hits, but only one for extra bases. He is hitting .348 in Grapefruit League play.
Revere, whose 184 hits last season (162 singles) tied him for the National League lead, has struggled offensively this spring. An 0-for-3 day Wednesday dropped his average to .149. He said he's seeing the ball fine but still working on getting his timing down.
Where Herrera hits in Sandberg's batting order will probably hinge on the opposing pitcher. Herrera has hit second behind Revere this spring, but so has shortstop Freddy Galvis. Hitting has long been the question mark surrounding the slick-fielding Galvis, but he provides Sandberg a switch-hitting option in a lefthanded-heavy lineup.
Galvis, a career .218 hitter, has hit better this spring. A 1-for-3 day Wednesday lifted his Grapefruit League average to .280. His 14 hits rank second on the team, though he has still yet to draw a walk or hit for extra bases.
On the first day of spring training, in an effort to shorten Galvis' swing, Phillies coaches stuck a larger-knobbed bat in the 25-year-old's hands. The Louisville Slugger is an inch longer and two ounces heavier than his usual bat.
Galvis still uses his old bat for batting practice while swinging his new one in games. He said he believes it's working.
"Freddy's doing a fine job with contact and doing some of the little things - situational baseball," Sandberg said. "He's also really shortened his swing and [is] looking for contact, resulting in line-drive base hits. . . . He's taken to [the heavier bat] very well, and it's been a good thing for him."