The 33-year-old is in Philadelphia this week with the Colorado Rockies while the player the Phillies opted for in left field, John Mayberry Jr., finally shows flashes of relevancy. The "what if?" game is an easy one to play.
Both teams got what they paid for; Mayberry earns $495,000, and Colorado shelled out a three-year, $31.5 million deal for Cuddyer.
For now, at least, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is wondering whether Mayberry has found the stroke that offered so much promise in the second half of 2011. The 28-year-old started Wednesday for the sixth time in seven games and had homered in three straight.
Mayberry was never promised the everyday job before spring training, but the hope among Phillies officials was that he could play his way into a regular role and help compensate for lost power in a depleted lineup.
"He didn't have a real good spring," Manuel said. "When the season started, I felt he might be able to pick it up. It took him a while."
But one good week does not erase the 10 before it, or the lingering red flags that could keep Mayberry from ever becoming a regular. He entered Wednesday with a paltry .213 batting average and .562 OPS against righthanded pitchers. His inability to hit them has prevented any consistent play.
His approach has languished even against lefthanders. He has yet to draw a walk against a lefty this season for a .274 on-base percentage. He has faced lefties fewer times, but five of his six home runs in 2012 have come off them.
Manuel said that everyday role is attainable if the performance dictates it.
"I'll always go back to you as long as you keep battling and stay at it," Manuel said. "He showed me last year what he can do. I'll never forget that."
Meanwhile, Cuddyer has hit well for a hapless Rockies team. His .502 slugging percentage ranked eighth among National League outfielders entering Wednesday. His numbers are better in the confines of thin-aired Coors Field than on the road, but he hit a solo home run in the third inning Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Until the middle of December, he thought Philadelphia could be home.
"There was definitely significant interest all the way down until Jimmy signed," Cuddyer said. "Once Jimmy signed back, there was no room."
Roy Halladay (shoulder) spent about 10 minutes playing catch with pitching coach Rich Dubee before Wednesday's game. It was his fourth such session.
"He's a ways from going off a mound," Dubee said.
Chase Utley played eight innings at second base Wednesday for single-A Clearwater, besting by two innings his previous appearance while rehabilitating his chronically ailing knees.
He was 2 for 3 with a two-run homer against Dunedin.
The Phillies added a 12th pitcher to their roster by recalling lefthander Raul Valdes from triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 34-year-old replaced catcher Erik Kratz on the 25-man roster. Valdes spent nearly a month with the Phillies before his demotion and pitched in 11 games. He allowed only three earned runs in 122/3 innings and struck out 13 against one walk. . . . Freddy Galvis' 50-game suspension may not affect playing time because of his injury, but the 22-year-old will forfeit about $132,000 in salary.
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