Ender Inciarte gets final spot on Phillies roster

Phillies Carlos Ruiz, left, its congratulated by teammate Ben Revere after he scored on a Ender Inciarte single to right in the fourth inning. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Phillies Carlos Ruiz, left, its congratulated by teammate Ben Revere after he scored on a Ender Inciarte single to right in the fourth inning. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 31, 2013

Ender Inciarte stared up into the heavens after popping out to end the Phillies' 10-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday afternoon.

His momentary frustration notwithstanding, the closing day of the exhibition season was a very good one for the 22-year-old Venezuelan outfielder. Inciarte claimed the final spot on the 25-man opening-day roster that the Phillies revealed before the game.

The roster offered little surprise, but settled the few lingering position battles.

Humberto Quintero will begin the season as the backup catcher, winning the job over Steven Lerud.

Phillippe Aumont beat out Michael Stutes for the final right-handed reliever spot.

The Phillies opening day roster includes 15 different names than it did a season ago.

"It's a jigsaw puzzle, and we had a lot more things to put together than we had in the past," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "That's a lot of changeover."

Inciarte hasn't played a game above single A, but circumstances worked in his favor. As a Rule 5 draft choice from Arizona, the Phillies are required to carry him on the major league roster all season or else offer him back to the Diamondbacks. And with Delmon Young likely out until at least the end of April, the Phillies needed outfield depth.

"He's young, and he may be a little overmatched offensively. But I think defense is important to us," Amaro said. "He has an instinct in the outfield that in my mind is a little bit like [Freddy] Galvis in the infield. He's going to be a plus for us, because defense in the outfield is a concern."

Inciarte hit .273 in spring training with one extra-base hit in 33 at-bats. He went 1 for 3 on Saturday, including a bases-loaded strikeout to end the sixth inning.

Manager Charlie Manuel said he wouldn't have any qualms about deploying his fifth outfielder as a late-inning defensive replacement.

"He definitely needs more minor-league experience, but at the same time, he's a need on our team, and we'll see how good he can do it," Manuel said.

Backup catcher was also a need because of Carlos Ruiz's 25-game suspension, which bumped Eric Kratz into a starting role.

Amaro said the choice between Lerud, who has played only three major league games, and the veteran Quintero was one of the toughest he made.

"[Lerud] did a really nice job for us," Amaro said. "He handles the staff well. I think they like throwing to him. But Quintero's experience, the way he throws and the way he blocks, I just felt like he's got a little bit of an edge."


Contact Tim McManus at tmcmanus@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @ByTimMcManus.

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