Phillies Notebook: Phillies coaches trying to get Revere's bat going

ASSOCIATED PRESS Delmon Young, making his second start at designated hitter last night in Cleveland, strikes out in eighth inning.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Delmon Young, making his second start at designated hitter last night in Cleveland, strikes out in eighth inning.
Posted: May 03, 2013

CLEVELAND - While the debut of Delmon Young drew most of the attention that wasn't being paid to the Cleveland homecomings of Charlie Manuel and Cliff Lee, Ben Revere quietly returned to the Phillies lineup Tuesday night for the first time in nearly a week.

After 5 days off while battling a sore left quadriceps and a tender batting average, Revere hit ninth and started in centerfield.

He made four outs in three trips to the plate, grounding out three times, including an inning-ending doubleplay in his final at-bat in the seventh inning. Revere hit an even .200 (18-for-90) in his first month with the Phillies.

"He's had a hard time getting going," Manuel said, recalling that Revere hit .294 last season in Minnesota. "We just have to keep staying with him and see if we can't get him playing better."

The Phils have received little offensive production from their outfield as a whole. Their rightfielders have a .597 OPS (third worst in baseball) and are hitting .193 with a .290 OBP; their leftfielders have hit .242 with a .303 OBP and .717 OPS.

But Revere's almost nonexistent offense in the last 2 1/2 weeks has made him the poster boy of the outfield's dreadful production.

Revere entered yesterday in a 6-for-42 (.145) funk. He was 1-for-3 and walked for the first time since April 13.

Revere's game is built around his speed. But if a speed player isn't getting on base, his speed is obviously negated.

Revere had a .234 on-base percentage in 23 games entering yesterday. Of the 187 major leaguers who qualify, Revere's OBP ranked 177th.

Revere turns 25 tomorrow. Is it too late to alter his offensive approach?

"His approach is going to be hard to change," Manuel said. "Unless he bunts a lot . . . That's how he's going to get on, by getting singles."

Revere had 43 infield singles in 553 plate appearances in 2012. He had five in 96 plate appearances in 2013, entering yesterday.

But according to baseball-reference.com, Revere was hitting 5-for-55 (.091) on balls hit to the infield this season. He hit .147 (43-for-293) last season.

Conversely, Revere is hitting .619 (13-for-21) when he has hit the ball into the outfield this season. Of course, he also has hit the ball to the outfield only 21 times in 23 games.

If they can't alter his approach, can they get more line drives and fewer ground balls out of his swing?

"Basically, what we want to do, we'd like to slow his stride down, might get his stride a little shorter and get him to be quicker with his hands instead of a lot of movement and real hard swings," Manuel said. "There's a way you can work with him . . . He could hit some doubles because he's fast if he hits the ball in the right place."

Revere had 19 extra-base hits in 2012: 13 doubles, six triples. It was the lowest amount of extra-base hits for a major leaguer with at least 450 plate appearances.

Whether the Phils can get more out of Revere is the great unknown.

"I talk with [hitting coaches Steve] Henderson and Wally [Joyner] about Ben's hitting all the time," Manuel said. "Ben's got a lot going on. He's got a long stride, and he swings real hard. He hit the ball to second base good [on Tuesday night], but he hit it right at the guy."

Delmon's second start

Last night, Delmon Young started his second straight game since being activated. But for the second straight night, he was used as the Phillies' designated hitter.

Before yesterday, Manuel had planned to play Young in rightfield, where he is expected to play regularly in non-interleague games. But he decided against it after Young was plunked with a pitch in his throwing elbow in the fifth inning of Tuesday's game.

"It's nothing crazy," Young said of the ailment. "I have a big, fat knot right there. Today was one of those days where if I had to play out there, I would."

Young said he expects to make his debut in the outfield before the weekend. He hasn't played rightfield since 2007.

Phillers

Kyle Kendrick will take the mound when the Phillies return home to begin a four-game series with the Miami Marlins tonight. Kendrick threw a three-hit shutout in his last start, last Friday in New York. Kendrick has a 1.29 ERA in his last four starts. Since taking over the rotation spot from Joe Blanton last August, Kendrick is 9-5 with a 2.95 ERA in 17 starts . . . Jonathan Papelbon was a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities in April. In his career, he's 55-for-55 in save opportunities in the month of April. Among pitchers with at least 50 opportunities, no other reliever in major league history has a perfect save percentage in any month since the save became an official stat in 1969.


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

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