Notes: Victorino, you're in
Trades, slumps and injuries give outfielder more playing time
PHILADELPHIA -- Bobby Abreu's gone. Pat Burrell, with his aching foot, has been in the lineup only against lefties. David Dellucci and his .176 average against left-handers leaves him facing just right-handed pitching.
Do the math, and with Aaron Rowand pretty much a mainstay in center, it adds up to a new starting outfielder in Shane Victorino.Under these unusual circumstances, Victorino, the fourth outfielder, has been in the starting lineup for 10 of the last 12 games. "You know that you're going to play every day, whether it's a righty or a lefty," the switch-hitting Victorino said. "It's definitely nice to get that opportunity." Since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Victorino has responded to his increased playing time, hitting .310. He's also hit home runs in each of the last two games. Still, according to manager Charlie Manuel, the 24-year-old speedster has plenty of room for improvement. "If Shane gets a little bit more patient at the plate, he has the chance to be a real good hitter," Manuel said. Victorino himself said that his strength was in the outfield, be it right, center or left. And on Tuesday night, with the exception of his misadventure in the ninth inning near the wall in foul territory, he's made good on that assessment. "Victorino can definitely cover some ground," Manuel said. "Last night, he had a lot of balls hit to him that a lot of guys have a hard time getting to, and he was camped under them." His entry in the lineup has coincided with a big offensive boost for Philadelphia since the trading deadline. In the last two games, the Phillies combined to score 24 runs, making it the second time they've scored 24 over a two-game span, to go with one stretch of 23 in two games. All three have come since July 28, the day that Abreu and David Bell last took the field in a Phillies uniform. Lazy days: Tom Gordon couldn't have picked a better time to be injured. The Phillies have not needed the services of their closer, who is still day-to-day with shoulder soreness, or many of the other relievers for that matter. After the eight-man relief corps worked 18 innings in Philadelphia's three-game series against Cincinnati, the bullpen has only appeared in three innings in the first two games against the Mets. Cole Hamels went eight innings in the opener and Randy Wolf pitched seven in the second game -- both blowouts in the Phillies' favor. "Those were important to our bullpen, because we don't have Flash for a couple of days," Manuel said. So what does a reliever do when it becomes clear that the game is a rout and he won't be needed? "We're able to sit back and relax a little bit more," Rick White said. "I've been able to call down to the dugout and tease some of the guys who are running around the bases." Although White is up for fun and games, he knows that eventually he'll have to do some work. If he doesn't get the call on Wednesday, the righty who hasn't pitched since Sunday, will get up and throw anyway to stay fresh. Taking a walk: For the first time in the event's six-year history, the Phillies will be sponsoring Jefferson Hospital's "Big Walk for Little Feet." The Sept. 17 three-mile walk will benefit the hospital's neonatal care unit, which plays a particularly important role in Philadelphia, which has among the nation's highest rates of premature births. The Phillies made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday, at which they gave a $5,000 donation, in addition to launching their fund-raising efforts. At Wednesday night's game, fans were encouraged to sign up for the walk, with a chance to win a Chase Utley autographed bat. "Newborn illness is a huge problem for the country and for Philadelphia," said Dr. Jay Greenspan, the director of neonatology at Jefferson. "For the Phillies to help us bring attention to it is really beneficial." He also joked that with their support of newborn care, the ballclub was catering to a much younger demographic. "They're building their fan base," he said. Movie star?: Catcher Chris Coste mentioned this spring that he has written a second book, Roller Coaster: A Ride Through the Minor Leagues, about his journey through the minors. It may be accelerated after a story about him appeared in Wednesday's New York Times. It attracted the eye of several literary agents and movie companies, who left messages for Coste at the ballpark. Did you know? Before Tuesday night, the last time the Phillies scored multiple runs in four consecutive innings was on April 5, 2003. They scored four in the fifth, three in the sixth, three in the seventh and four in the eighth against the Pirates in a 16-1 win at Veterans Stadium.
Up next: The Phillies host the Mets in the finale of their four-game series in a 1:05 p.m. ET start on Thursday. A pair of rookies take the hill as Scott Mathieson (1-3, 6.48 ERA) goes up against New York's John Maine (2-3, 2.64).
Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.