ATLANTA - Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin benched centerfielder Odubel Herrera in the fourth inning of Sunday's loss for throwing his bat down in frustration and not running hard to first base after flying out to left field.
"Boys play Little League. Men play Major League Baseball. We will not pout. We will not feel sorry for ourselves. If you want to, then you don't belong here. He had to learn a lesson," Mackanin explained after the game. "To me, he's been pouting for a few days, and I just wanted to make sure that he gets the message.
"This game is easy to play when everything's going your way. When you're hitting and you're pitching and you're winning games, it's easy. Character comes out when you're really struggling. What kind of person are you? That's what we talk about with the [pitchers]. We push them to see if they can get over a hump to get out of their own jams. You cannot afford to pout or feel sorry for yourself at this level. You've got to play like a man."
Herrera, 23, tallied two hits in Friday's series opener but was hitless over five at-bats on Saturday and Sunday. The rookie and Rule 5 draft pick is batting a team-best .293 over 460 at-bats this season.
Still only 20 months removed from shoulder surgery, Adam Morgan has long been in uncharted territory with his workload. So instead of letting him make two more starts, the Phillies decided this weekend to play it safe and shut down the 25-year-old lefthander for the remainder of the season.
Between triple A and the major leagues, Morgan logged 1522/3 innings this season, his most since 2012 when he threw 1582/3 between high A and double A. He ended his rookie season with a 4.48 ERA over 15 starts.
"Everything's feeling good. My shoulder's feeling good. My body's feeling good," he said. "The innings that I hope to pitch next year isn't going to be affected by two more starts, whether I made it or not. So we just took the precautionary side."
Morgan hasn't rested much since his surgery in January 2014. After completing his rehabilitation, he pitched in the Arizona Fall League and then reported early to spring training. He pitched effectively this season despite decreased velocity compared to his pre-surgery days. His fastball averaged 89.59 m.p.h, according to PITCHf/x.
"I don't want to come across as someone who's just shutting it down," he said. "I told them [I was] keeping my foot on the gas as long as I can until I hear differently because that's the only way you can do it. You can't in the back of your mind [think], 'Oh, is this my last start? Am I going to shut this down?' . . . So I just kept going on with my workouts, my throwing, and it was just a mutual decision. It just felt like it was right."