Phillies change fifth outfielder

Ezequiel Carrera was claimed off waivers from Cleveland. He had 11 stolen bases this spring.
Ezequiel Carrera was claimed off waivers from Cleveland. He had 11 stolen bases this spring. (CHARLIE RIEDEL / AP)
Posted: April 04, 2013

ATLANTA - After one game, the Phillies roster underwent change.

The Phillies claimed outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off waivers from Cleveland on Tuesday and designated outfielder Ender Inciarte for assignment. The move is a shuffle of fifth outfielders. But with a hole in right field and no particularly good answer for at least a month, Carrera could stand to gain playing time.

The 25-year-old Venezuelan led the majors with 11 stolen bases this spring. He has 116 games of major-league experience, all with the Indians, and a career .653 OPS. Of those 116 games, 88 were starts.

Carrera, a lefthanded hitter, was out of options and designated for assignment March 25 by Cleveland. Earlier in the spring, Indians manager Terry Francona said, "His speed impacts the game." In the minors, Carrera was known for his speed, defense, and on-base skills.

He can play all three outfield positions, with the majority of his time coming in center field. Carrera originally was signed by the New York Mets in 2005. Effectively, he is Inciarte with more seasoning.

Charlie Manuel started John Mayberry Jr. in right field Monday. The manager said he has no problem platooning Mayberry and Laynce Nix until Delmon Young's return from ankle surgery. Young was scheduled to play the outfield for three innings in an extended spring-training game Tuesday.

But Young's addition to the roster is not imminent, and the team is not enamored of Mayberry or Nix. In an ideal world, one of them swings a hot bat and earns the majority of at-bats. If not, Carrera enters the equation.

Inciarte, 22, did not appear in Monday's season opener. He was a Rule 5 pick, so the Phillies were required to keep him on the active roster for all of 2013. It was a challenge, considering he had never played a game above single A. The Phillies could have tried to trade for his rights with Arizona.

If a team claims Inciarte off waivers, it must follow the same Rule 5 stipulations. If he clears waivers, the Diamondbacks will recover his rights by paying the Phillies $25,000.

Carrera will be in uniform Wednesday, the Phillies said.

Extra bases

Chase Utley became the 13th second baseman in history with 200 home runs. The others: Jeff Kent, Rogers Hornsby, Craig Biggio, Ryne Sandberg, Joe Morgan, Joe Gordon, Bret Boone, Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, Bobby Doerr, Dan Uggla, and Roberto Alomar. . . . Monday's game achieved the highest opening-day rating on PHL17 in the last 17 years. It averaged an 11.5 household rating and was the No. 1 program in the Philadelphia market. An average of 339,170 households tuned in. . . . Mike Schmidt, George Brett, and comedian Joe Piscopo will throw the ceremonial first pitches before Friday's home opener against Kansas City at Citizens Bank Park.

Contact Matt Gelb at Follow on Twitter @magelb.

 On-base plus slugging (OPS) is a statistic that adds a player's on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The major-league average in 2012 was .724. Baseball's best hitters typically will post an .850 OPS or higher. Miguel Cabrera led the majors with a .999 OPS in 2012.

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