"Then he looked like he was worried or something. Then when I found out who he was and the equipment guys came in, we hooked him up. He told me, 'I didn't want to be late for the first practice.' He was worried, you could tell."
Inciarte, 22, hasn't played a professional game above Class A, and therefore, entered as a long shot to break camp with the Phillies. But he shouldn't be worried about impressing his manager.
Inciarte, starting in centerfield in the home half of Sunday's split squad, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The 5-10, 160-pounder fueled the Phils' offense in the third inning when he singled, stole second base and then scored on a Yuniesky Betancourt single.
Inciarte deftly slid headfirst and away from the tag of Toronto catcher Henry Blanco on the play. He also showed off a strong arm in center throughout the game.
"He has really good first-step quickness and runs direct routes to the ball," Manuel said. "He looks fast running after the ball. He gets a good jump. I'll play him and we'll see. He seems like he's at home in our camp."
Inciarte hit .307 with a .376 OBP and went 46-for-58 in steal attempts in 2012 between low-A and high-A while with the Diamondbacks. Although he hasn't reached Double A yet, Inciarte thinks he's better prepared for the big leagues after playing in the Venezuelan Winter League in the last 3 years.
"There are a lot of big-league players in Venezuela, so when you're around them you learn from them," Inciarte said. "Guys that are really behind me all the time, trying to teach me like [Colorado's] Carlos Gonzalez, [Arizona's] Gerardo Parra, [current Phillies teammates] Humberto Quintero, Freddy Galvis that have played in the big leagues. So I try to take the best from them and put it into my game. In Venezuela, you can learn a lot."
As a Rule 5 pick, Inciarte would have to be offered back to Arizona if he is not on the Phillies' Opening Day roster.
The scoreboard read 43 degrees when the Phillies began stretching Sunday morning at Bright House Field. By game time, a brisk wind was whipping out to right. Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown took advantage.
Howard and Brown each hit their third homers of the spring in the victory over the Blue Jays. Brown's ball easily cleared the fence in right and Howard's left the ballpark altogether.
Howard, who will make his 10th straight start Monday against the Pirates in Bradenton, is hitting .417 (10-for-24) with three home runs, three doubles and 10 RBI.
"He's starting to get his legs under him," Manuel said. "He's getting his stroke."
Brown continued to look like a lock for one of the vacant outfield jobs with a solo shot with one out in the fourth. Brown is batting .350 (7-for-20) in nine games.
Both Brown and Howard's home runs came off lefthanded pitchers. Howard is hitting .556 (5-for-9) with two doubles and a home run off lefties.
The race for the few available bullpen spots didn't exactly heat up on Sunday.
In Clearwater, righthander Aaron Cook gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits in four innings. Although Cook, 34, has been a starter, the Phils' rotation is set and he may be suited more for the role Kyle Kendrick has had in the last 2 years, as a long reliever and spot starter.
"I'll take the ball whenever they give it to me," said Cook, who has a 5.54 ERA in the last three seasons with Colorado and Boston.
Meanwhile, in Sarasota on the other half of the Phillies' split squad, lefthander Jeremy Horst faced eight Orioles batters and six reached base and scored. Horst allowed six runs on four hits, including two home runs, while walking two in two-thirds of an inning against Baltimore.
Two of the bright spots in the relief-corps competition: Joe Savery struck out three of the six batters he faced in 1 2/3 scoreless innings at the end of the game in Clearwater, and fellow lefty Jake Diekman finished strong in Sarasota, striking out five of the nine he faced in two innings. Diekman allowed one run on two hits in the final two innings of the game.
Chase Utley went 1-for-1 with two walks and a run scored against the Blue Jays. Utley is hitting .400 (4-for-10) in five games . . . Michael Young and Freddy Galvis homered in the 12-3 loss to the Orioles in Sarasota. Kyle Kendrick took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits, including two homers . . . John Lannan will make his second start of the spring Monday vs. the Pirates.