Alec Bohm is here and he's going to play.
The Phillies didn't call up Bohm, their top offensive prospect, to get him a few at-bats here and there. He'll be a regular in the lineup, Phillies GM Matt Klentak said Thursday shortly after Bohm was added to the roster.
Bohm will mainly play third base, where he was Thursday in his debut against the Orioles. When Bohm is at third, it will shift Jean Segura to second base. Scott Kingery will again be a utility player. Kingery could see some time in center field with Adam Haseley (wrist sprain) placed on the 10-day IL Thursday. That was the corresponding move to make room for Bohm on the active roster.
"The plan is that he's going to play regularly," Klentak said. "That's been the case for a while now. If we're going to call up a player like Alec, we want him to play every day. With Adam Haseley going on the IL today, that opens up some regular reps for us. Obviously, it'll be up to Joe (Girardi) to write out the lineup every day. But I think what you're going to see today is pretty indicative of what the next week or so will be like. Alec will play quite a bit at third. Segura will move over and play some second.
"Kingery now will help us in a variety of different spots, but notably, he may need to take down some reps in center field. ... We still view Scott as an everyday player. Whether that’s at second base or some other position, but right now given his offensive struggles, given Bohm coming up, and given the need for an extra capable defender in center field, I think this makes sense for the team right now.
"We want Alec to play regularly. We think he's that kind of player. It really highlights the importance of guys like Segura and Kingery being able to play multiple positions. You can have an injury to a left-handed hitting outfielder and call up a right-handed hitting infielder and the pieces can still work."
Bohm can also play first base. With the early-season struggles of Rhys Hoskins, Kingery and Segura, there are multiple lineup combinations which include Bohm that might be able to give the Phillies a boost.
Hoskins, Kingery and Segura have hit a combined .165 this season (20 for 121). Their lack of offense is the major reason Bohm is here now. The extra infield bat certainly puts some pressure on Hoskins and Kingery to perform. Teams don't have time to wait out prolonged slumps in a 60-game season. Friday will be the Phils' quarter-pole of the season.
Hoskins has hit .190 this season with one RBI. He has not homered in his last 109 plate appearances dating back to last season. The walks are nice and the source of his .404 on-base percentage but the Phillies need Hoskins to do more than walk. They need him to hit for power. And they need Kingery to catch up to fastballs. Against fastballs 93 mph or harder this season, Kingery is 0 for 9 and has swung-and-missed more than one-third of the time.
Hoskins and Kingery were both out of Thursday's lineup. Neil Walker started at first base with Segura at second.
"He's a hitter," Klentak said of Bohm. "We think he can help our lineup. Our lineup thus far — and I'm mindful of the fact that we're only 13 games in and even those 13 games have been somewhat disjointed — has had several players really off to fast starts from the very beginning and others that have struggled. Adding another quality bat into that mix can only help us. That's the way we're looking at it."
Bohm ends up debuting before ever playing a game at Triple A. Had there been a minor-league season, it's where he would have opened.
"This guy has done everything he can do in the batter's box at the minor-league level," Klentak said. "It's not his fault that there was no official Triple A season this year. But he's done everything he can. He's really worked very hard on his defense. That's come a long way for him in the last year and a half. On top of that, he's also added the versatility of being able to slide over to first base, which we won't see tonight, but we could see that at some point this year too.
"As much as anything, we think he's earned it. Now that our roster allows for him to come up and play every day, we think it's a good opportunity for him."
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