Wilson Ramos wasn’t the only newcomer in the Phillies’ starting lineup on Wednesday night.
Justin Bour, acquired last week from Miami, got his first start with his new club. He played first base and batted second.
Bour got the start over Carlos Santana, who has been a polarizing player in his first year of a three-year, $60 million contract.
Santana’s supporters, which include the front office and manager Gabe Kapler, love the way he works counts and gets on base. His on-base percentage is .349 and his 66 RBIs are second-most on the club.
Santana’s detractors see his .214 batting average and want more.
Both sides have a point.
Don’t get used to seeing Bour at first base. Kapler reiterated before the game that the Phils acquired Bour to be a difference-making bat off the bench. Kapler wants to get Bour an occasional start — like Wednesday night — to keep him sharp for pinch-hitting assignments.
“Santana's going to play every day,” Kapler said. “Santana's going to play regularly.”
But what if Bour’s bat gets hotter than a habanero?
“Bour is going to be a weapon off the bench for us,” Kapler said. “Look, we can't see the future in its entirety. Santana's going to play every day. Right now, Bour is a weapon off the bench for us. He can start for us occasionally.”
Ramos, acquired at the trade deadline, was activated from the disabled list, started behind the plate and batted sixth. To make room for him on the roster, the Phillies sent catcher Andrew Knapp to Triple A.
Zach Eflin and Ranger Suarez will be the starters in Thursday’s doubleheader against the Mets. Suarez will start the first game and Eflin will start the second.
Suarez will be promoted from Triple A for the start. The Phillies will have to clear a roster spot for him.
Eflin is technically on the Triple A roster after being optioned on Sunday. He will be added to the roster as the 26th man. Teams are allowed to have an extra player for a doubleheader.
Eflin will go back to Triple A on Friday and return after his 10-day option assignment is complete early next week. He will not miss a big-league start.
Sending Eflin to the minors was a controversial move as it cost him about $20,000 in pay and big-league service time. The Phillies sent Eflin out because they wanted to carry an extra man and the 26th roster spot and a day off on Monday allowed them to assign Eflin to the minors without him missing a turn in the big-league rotation.
Eflin was not happy with the move, but he said he understood it. He and Kapler had breakfast together in Philadelphia earlier in the week and talked out the situation.
“It’s been different being away from the team, but at the end of the day we all understand the move,” Eflin said. “It just wasn’t too easy to swallow. The only thing you can do is be positive and move forward and use it as motivation.
“I think what everyone is focused on is me losing service time or losing money, but the only thing I’ve been worried about the whole time is being away from my teammates and losing those eight days of relationships in the middle of a pennant race. That’s what affected me the most. I could not care less about the money I missed or the days I missed. It’s more about the relationships and the brothers you have in this clubhouse that I was missing out on.”