"My business is to win the game, it's to win every day. If I had my choice, I would win 162 games. Seriously, I mean that. But at the same time, if you're going to be a regular player, it's up to you to hold that job, to hold that position. That's how you become a regular player."
Still, with the recent emergence of Pierre as the Phillies' leadoff hitter and the move of Jimmy Rollins to the third spot, it has left people wondering about what is next for Mayberry. In the second half of 2011, after a demotion to the minors, he worked on his stroke and returned to the majors, and gradually - through, it should not be forgotten, some deft handling by the manager - became the player who was acknowledged to be the guy who would replace Raul Ibanez in leftfield.
Now, well, what?
What does Pierre mean for Mayberry?
"That means that he might not be in there every day starting out, but that means he's going to play a lot," Manuel said. "He'll have every chance in the world to become an everyday player. I look at an everyday player as 500 at-bats in the big leagues. That's an everyday player . . .
"How they arrive to be an everyday player is because they can handle everything that's out there for them to handle - mentally, physically, every part about it. Slumps. Errors. Mistakes. They should be able to handle all of that - that's how I look at it."
But you have to be given a chance to play, and to get into slumps, and to commit errors, and to make mistakes. You have to be given some rope. The problem is, these current-era Phillies have been so stocked with veterans and in such a hurry to win immediately - a fabulous problem, granted - that unestablished players get a truly extended opportunity only when there is no other viable option. This is why Freddy Galvis is getting the shot at second base while Chase Utley works to return from his persistent knee problems.
But Mayberry, who has had a lousy spring (.197, one home run in 76 at-bats), is suddenly no longer the guy who is going to play every day, which had been the assumption, especially considering that not only can he play in the outfield but also at first base, a rather empty precinct these days as Ryan Howard recovers from Achilles' surgery and a subsequent infection.
"First of all, because he struggled in spring training, that doesn't mean a whole lot to me - because I think during the season there's going to be times when he's going to struggle," Manuel said. "I used to have to sit Jayson Werth. I used to have to sit Pat Burrell. Jim Thome has struggled in his career.
"But that's the part where you become a regular player, by getting through those slumps and those struggles, holding your own, keeping your head above water where you can play every day."
For his part, Mayberry has always been a classy interview and he was again last night. He said he is excited for the season, and that he doesn't begrudge Pierre anything, and, "I look at the season optimistically. It's not about me, it's about the team. I'm going to be a guy that, hopefully, Charlie feels comfortable putting in several spots. I'll be ready to go, wherever he needs me."
Mayberry also said this:
"I think it kind of adds a little bit of an element of excitement, just coming in and looking at the lineup every day."
Really, that's what he said.
An element of excitement.
And, well, we'll see.
Contact Rich Hofmann at email@example.com,
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