Schierholtz welcomes fresh start with Phillies
WASHINGTON – Betcha didn’t see this lineup coming in spring training:
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Nate Schierholtz, RF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. John Mayberry Jr., CF
6. Domonic Brown, LF
7. Kevin Frandsen, 3B
8. Erik Kratz, C
9. Vance Worley, P
That’s the starting nine Charlie Manuel sent to the field Wednesday night as the Phillies began a month of August that will be dedicated to finding out which players might be able to help them next season -- and which won’t.
Outfielders Brown and Mayberry headline that list. Both have been in the system for a while, had some highs, some lows, and plenty of inconsistency.
Schierholtz, the third outfielder in Manuel’s lineup, is similar in some ways, though his inability to crack a full-time lineup came in San Francisco.
Schierholtz, who started in right field against Washington righthander Edwin Jackson, became a Phillie when Hunter Pence was traded to the Giants on Tuesday. After playing a part-time role in San Francisco the last four seasons, Schierholtz is eager for a fresh start, even if it meant leaving a contender for a team that is retooling.
“It got to the point [in San Francisco] where I didn’t see myself having an everyday role,” said Schierholtz, a 28-year-old left-handed hitter. “I felt like I needed a chance to earn more playing time, maybe get 100 at-bats in a row, but it wasn’t going to happen.”
Schierholtz said he spoke to Giants manager Bruce Bochy about his situation.
“I felt like I was on a short leash,” he said. “I felt like I was series-to-series, if you didn’t get a hit you were back on the bench. We didn’t see eye to eye. But overall, San Francisco treated me great. I have a lot of great memories.”
One of those memories was dancing on the Citizens Bank Park infield when the Giants beat the Phils in the 2010 NLCS. San Francisco went on to win the World Series.
“The fans in Philly are some of the most passionate in the game,” Schierholtz said. “It was mayhem [in the stands] during that series. You have to give them credit for bringing their A-game. They do their part to rattle the other team.”
Schierholtz hit .257 with five homers (two of them in one game in Philadelphia) and 17 RBIs in 257 at-bats with the Giants this season. His work against left-handed pitching probably held him back in his quest for more playing time. He hit just .174 (8 for 46) against them.
The Phils are wide open in the outfield for next season. No one is guaranteed a job. Manager Charlie Manuel said Schierholtz will get plenty of looks these final two months, and Schierholtz is eager for the opportunity.
“I’m happy for the fresh start,” he said. “They told me I’d be playing. I know there’s a lot of upside here. I don’t see any reason why we can win games and make things interesting.”E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com