Pete Orr… future outfielder. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
You know, I was just thinking the other day that I haven’t seen NEARLY enough of Pete Orr playing the outfield. And don’t lie. I know you’ve been thinking the EXACT same thing.
The Phils’ light-hitting infielder-turned-outfielder-for-a-day was placed in the starting lineup as the starting right fielder by manager Charlie Manuel for last night’s 6-1 loss to the Red Sox in Ft. Myers.
John Mayberry Jr. started in left. Darin Ruf, who made the trip while Dom Brown and key veterans stayed back in Clearwater, sat on the bench.
This makes sense to absolutely no one.
Time is mercifully running out down in Clearwater. Spring training is almost over, there are only a handful of games left on the Grapefruit League schedule, and we still don’t really know what we have in Darin Ruf.
So yeah, let’s do everything we can to see less of him. That’s a strong idea.
Of course, everyone should understand that anytime you can get Pete Orr’s bat into the lineup, you absolutely HAVE to do it. Plus, you want Pete Orr’s glove out there in right field, too. The man can flat out play some right field.
Orr looked downright Ruf-ian in misplaying that Shane Victorino line drive into a three-run triple during last night’s game against the Sox. So, I guess it’s good that he get out there and get as many reps in, because he’s going to be a vital contributor to the Phillies’ playoff chances this year.
What’s that? He’s not even going to make the roster, you say?
OK, now I’m confused.
Darin Ruf has apparently learned all he needs to learn about playing the outfield. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Giving John Mayberry Jr. a start in left field (Ruf’s position) is understandable. He’s going to be a right-handed outfield bench off the bat and it’s important to get him as ready as he can be for the regular season. But giving Orr a start in the outfield, at the expense of seeing Ruf play out there, is completely mystifying.
But why wouldn’t Manuel have started Mayberry in right and Ruf in left last night? What sense does putting Orr in the outfield at the expense of Ruf make to anyone?
Even if the Phillies have already decided (and they likely have) that Ruf is going to start the season in AAA, everyone knows that Orr is destined to open the season at Lehigh Valley as well. Ruf is the player with far more promise. And besides, we know what Pete Orr is.
What could possibly have been gained by giving Orr a start over Ruf last night?
Darin eventually did enter as a “defensive replacement” mid-way through the game, going 1 for 2 with his sixth double of the spring. His bat has been coming around a bit lately, although his overall spring numbers (.226/.305/.396 with 1 HR in 53 ABS with 12 Ks and 2 BBs) aren’t very good, and his defense has been as expected.
Which is to say, not so hot.
So yes, it looks for all the world like Ruf will start the year in Lehigh Valley. And that’s fine. It’s probably the best place for him at the moment.
But it made no sense to leave him out of last night’s lineup so that an infielder named Pete Orr could get a useless and meaningless start in the outfield over him.
Of course, we’re talking about Charlie Manuel here, so it’s not like it’s the last time he’s going to do or say something that makes no sense.