Back in early July, Freddy Galvis and his wife, Ana, welcomed their second daughter into the world. Little Nicole arrived at 5 o'clock in the morning. Her dad eschewed his right to take paternity leave and was at shortstop for the Phillies that night. Hit a home run, in fact.
In explaining his decision to come to work that day to manager Pete Mackanin, Galvis said everything was good at home and he wanted to come to work because he had a responsibility to his team and a personal goal to play in all 162 of the Phillies’ games.
In relaying that story, Mackanin praised Galvis' leadership and character and said he would do everything in his power to see that Galvis' goal of answering the bell for 162 games became a reality.
Recently, however, Galvis' desire to play all 162 games has caused Mackanin a little handwringing. Highly touted shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford is due to come up from the minors for a September look on Tuesday and it makes sense that the Phillies’ front office would like to see him some at shortstop, in addition to third base, a position he recently started learning.
But where does that leave Galvis and his bid to play 162?
Mackanin answered that question when he filled out the lineup card for the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader against Atlanta.
Galvis was in center field (see Game 2 observations).
It was a startling move not only because Galvis had never played the position (other than a brief look in spring training 2013), but also because he was a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop last season and will be in the running for the award this season.
Clearly, Mackanin — and the front office — are trying to rig a way where Galvis can achieve his goal and play 162 games while getting an occasional look at Crawford at shortstop.
"Well, it might," Mackanin said when asked if playing Galvis in the outfield had anything to do with Crawford.
"Actually, I didn't tell Freddy he would play every day at short. He asked me if he could play every day. I said yes. Now, if I said that, that wasn't my intent. I told him that I was going to try and get him to play every day."
Galvis played 10 games in left field in 2013. He met with Mackanin and GM Matt Klentak about the matter on Tuesday and said all the right things after playing center field on Wednesday.
"I think it's good," he said. "I just want to help the team win. And I’m going to try to do my best every single time. It doesn’t matter where they put me, I’m going to play hard and try to win that day.
"I think September is a time where they see a lot of new players, a lot of young players. That was the conversation. Try to be available to do that and that’s why I’m playing center field a little bit right now. But I’m good, man. Like I said, I just want to win. I just want to have the best team here in Philadelphia. I’m just trying to do something good."
Moving players around in order to get them big-league reps has been commonplace with the Phillies this season. Rhys Hoskins, a natural first baseman, has been playing left field so he can get at-bats. Crawford is learning to play third base in preparation for his ascension.
Mackanin said there would be more of it. He said second baseman Cesar Hernandez could get time at shortstop over the final month of the season and third baseman Maikel Franco could get time at first. While moving Galvis around a little bit in order to evaluate Crawford makes some sense, moving Hernandez and Franco to positions where the Phils already have players that need reps — Hoskins and Tommy Joseph at first and Galvis and Crawford at shortstop — makes little sense. Talking about those as potential moves might just be subterfuge to deflect attention away from how the Galvis-Crawford situation will play out.
However it plays out, Galvis is not expected to play a ton of center field. After all, Odubel Herrera is due to come off the disabled list Friday.
Galvis, to his credit, continued to defuse a potentially combustible matter.
"Let's let Pete decide what we're going to do," he said.
Galvis will be eligible for salary arbitration for the final time this winter. He will be eligible for free agency after next season. He could be shopped for a trade this winter if the Phillies believe Crawford is ready to take over the position in April. Or he could hang around for a while.
Asked about his future, Galvis said, "I don't know. I'm not God. I will take it day by day and see what happens."
All we know right now is there is a plan in place for him to reach his goal and play in 162 games. It just involves an occasional detour to the outfield.