The Phillies were going to need to figure out a solution to their reserve outfielders, particularly when it came to a right-handed-hitting outfielder. The choices were unpopular John Mayberry Jr., who is signed to a $1.5 million deal, but capable of playing all three positions with relative competency, and Darin Ruf, who batted .247 with 14 homers in 293 plate appearances last season in his first extended big-league look, but whose outfield capabilities are limited to the corners and not exactly sparkling.
Well, scratch Ruf for a while. He strained an oblique taking batting practice cuts before the Phils' split-squad game in Kissimmee Thursday. That's an injury that cost Chase Utley a month last season.
Since the Phils expect to carry an extra bench player for a couple of weeks, Mayberry is a virtual lock. This also should give both Bobby Abreu and Tony Gwynn Jr. to coexist on the roster for a bit. If anyone was thinking about an out-of-the-box decision along the lines of Mikael Franco getting a couple of weeks in a big-league uniform, that's not going to happen. Perhaps if the Phils' top offensive prospect were tearing the cover off the ball this spring that could be something to consider, but that isn't the case.