Most major league managers try to find the right moment to give their bench players an occasional start, the better to keep them sharp and ready to contribute as the need arises.
The fact that Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel gave reserve outfielder John Mayberry Jr. consecutive starts Tuesday and yesterday against the Milwaukee Brewers might be simply a case of Manuel performing due diligence. Or it might be a signal that the lanky outfielder, son of former Kansas City Royals slugger John Mayberry, could be looking at an expanded role.
Now that rightfielder Jayson Werth has moved on to the Washington Nationals, the Phillies have been playing Raul Ibanez, a lefthander hitter, in leftfield and righthanded Ben Francisco in rightfield. But with Ibanez' batting average down to .219, Manuel started Mayberry in leftfield against Milwaukee southpaw Chris Narveson.