One day after tweaking an oblique muscle in his right side and pulling himself from the lineup, Phillies utilityman Brad Miller said he isn’t overly concerned about being ready for opening day.
Miller underwent an MRI exam Sunday that likely will provide a more thorough diagnosis. For now, Miller is hopeful that Philadelphia Phillies Jerseys China sitting out for a few days and receiving treatment will be the cure for an issue that has bothered him intermittently throughout spring training.
“I just know I need some treatment, some TLC, some rest,” Miller said. “Hopefully it’s nothing too serious. I’m sure in the next couple days we’ll start to talk about the progression [to playing again] and all that.”
Miller was scheduled to play Saturday in Clearwater, Fla., but the discomfort near his rib cage “picked up a little bit.” He’s projected to be the Phillies’ top left-handed bench bat, so the team isn’t about to risk having him play through an injury in spring training.
“It wasn’t anything crazy, but it started [to flare up] when I was kind of moving around [in warmups],” Miller said. “I was like, ‘All right, that’s a little different than before, so let’s pump the brakes a little bit.’ ”
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Two years ago, Miller hit 12 home runs and had a .941 OPS in 130 at-bats for the Phillies. He hit seven homers with an .807 OPS in 142 at-bats for the St. Louis Cardinals last year before signing a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Phillies last month.
If Miller isn’t ready for opening day, it could create an opportunity for lefty-hitting infielder Nick Maton, who is 6-for-20 (.300) with one homer and seven RBIs in spring training. Infielder C.J. Chatham, a right-handed hitter, is also vying for a bench spot.
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Lefty-hitting outfielder Matt Joyce continued his push for a roster spot by delivering two RBI singles Sunday in the Phillies’ 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. Joyce, who came to camp as a non-roster invitee on a minor-league contract, is 7-for-13 with a homer and four RBIs.
Phillies center field candidate Odúbel Herrera high-fives catcher Andrew Knapp after scoring a run in the first inning of Sunday’s 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.
Phillies center field candidate Odúbel Herrera high-fives catcher Andrew Knapp after scoring a run in the first inning of Sunday’s 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.Gene J. Puskar / AP
‘Good day’ for Herrera
Odúbel Herrera bunted for a hit in the first inning Sunday and homered off Pirates lefty Steven Brault in the third. But manager Joe Girardi stopped short of declaring him the front-runner in the center-field competition with Scott Kingery, Roman Quinn, and Mickey Moniak.
“He had another good day,” Girardi said. “We’re just going to have to let it play out for another two weeks.”
Herrera is 6-for-20 (.300) with two homers this spring. After Kingery (3-for-22, 10 strikeouts) led off the game by whiffing on four pitches, Herrera dropped a bunt and used his speed to beat out an infield single. He later scored in a two-run first inning.
“It’s got to be part of his game,” Girardi said. “We work on these guys all the time with bunting, and he tried it out right away and he had success. That’s always easier to sell when you have success and you do it.”