• December 2, 2022

Wigginton To Emerge As Key Pinch Hitter, But Can He Handle It

Injuries are the poor man’s excuse for the Phillies lack of offensive prowess of late, but that problem may be solved with one Philadelphia’s top bats returning to the lineup sooner than a February setback may have led the public to believe.

Ryan Howard’s Achilles has been healed and he is heading to Clearwater for some baseball exercises, which puts him on the right track for a long awaited return. This means Charlie Manuel will get one of his most powerful bats back in the lineup and also means Hunter Pence and Jimmy Rollins will have a little bit more protection when they step between the chalk.

The All-Star’s near return means that Ty Wigginton’s days at the corner of Philly’s infield are numbered. He has done a great job stepping up at first base and has exceeded expectations in this early season.

He has made two errors fluctuating between first and third base, one at each position, and for a 230-pounder he can surprise naysayers with his decent range. He isn’t going to have a closet full of Gold Gloves or even one by the end of his career but he was thrown to the wolves this season and he has held his own in Manuel’s infield.

His hitting has been even more impressive than his fielding. After a horrid start to the year, Wiggy has been swinging the bat with authority. In his 16 games this season he has hit an impressive .304 with an OPS soaring to .800. His strikeout totals are high, but with an inconsistent hitter like the utility infielder that is bound to happen. He has kept the ball on the ground which forces opposing teams to make plays rather than giving outfielders can of corns. His grounders have been able to find holes and he is yet to hit into a double play, which is a great asset to have in the lineup.

Inevitably he must begin to count down the days until Howard returns to his throne. Wigginton isn’t going to overtake Polanco at the hot corner, but will be moved to the hardest position in baseball, pinch hitter. The Phils’ pinch hitters have only accounted for one hit coming off the bench this season and that is a huge problem.

We could sit here and blame injuries, but at the end of the day the team needs pinch hitter to find a way to win. Wiggy has failed to reach base in his two pinch hit attempts this season and on’t expect him to start picking up the pinch hitting slack. During his 2011 campaign with the Colorado Rockies he only had two hits in 15 at-bats coming up to the plate cold.

With absolutely no one on Philly’s roster hitting off the bench, Howard’s return will give the one-time All-Star a chance to step up as Manuel’s go to pinch hitter. After all, Jim Thome and Lance Nix have proven that job is clearly up for grabs with their one combined hit in 13 at-bats.

Richard Greco

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April 27, 2012 4:00 pm

Detroit Tigers released 3B/C/OF Brandon Inge yesterday who is a right-handed bat.. Now sure if he’s worth persuing and still plays a good 3B and provides a Right-Handed Bat but GM Amaro should do his due diligience and check up on him..

May 5, 2012 9:10 am

Do many of you still think the Phils have the Talent/Hitting/Pitching/Coaching to win 95-100 Games this Season.. I don’t and said this was the weakest all-around Phillie Team in 7-8 Years when you combine the lack of Hitting, lack of Power, poor Defense and a very shaky Bullpen (outside of Closer Papelbon) and a Manager who is not a real small-ball, grind it out type of managers which is what this team has become based on it’s Roster, they will be fortunate to win about 85-88 Games and will fall short of a NL East Crown which will be between the Nationals/Braves . They have good enough Starter to stay away from prolong losing streaks, but there offense is so poor that this will prevent them from long winning streaks too… They are, what they are which is basically a .500 or slightly better Team and for a $170 Million Payroll which is the 2nd Highest in all of MLB, which is not very good utilization of resources and includes some very questionable Roster Management by GM Amaro.. and here is the real startling,sad news.. We all have been riding Amaro for obtaining hs-been players like Nix and Wigginton, but just think where this Team would be now if it weren’t for these 2 players… The Regular Core Roster has become weak,old and broken down which I’ve been saying for 2 years now … SInce the NL East is much more competitive this Season, no Team is going to win 95 + games so the Race will be a realtively close one going down to the final couple of weeks but I believe it’s a 2 Team Race in the East between Nats/Braves where the PHils can play the spoiler role.. NAts have a great mixture of youth/experience and players who are hungry and a Manager in D Johnson who is agreesive and not afraid to take chances.. Nats have the best young C,SS & 2B in the Division who will be a force for years and then add Starter RHP in Strasburg and OF Phenom in Harper and the injured Matt Morrse and then add some cagy Veterans like Zimmerman,LaRoche,Werth,DeRosa and a great Pitching Staff which I said would be be as good or even better than the Phils from Top to Bottom, and there you have it, a good team, a playoff Team and a Team who should contend for the next 3-4-5 Years
the Braves keep reloading, 1B Freeman is the best young 1B in the NL, they brought up a young SS who is playing well and RF J heyward is back to his Rookie form to go with solid Veterans in McCann,Prado,Hinske,Bourne,and still dangerous Chipper Jones
How did the Phils fall so far so fast…. It’s called blind faith and too much allegiance in players.. You cannot as a GM continue to hold out belief that a player is going to turn it around and play like they did when they were in their primes…. Rollins,Utley,Polanco have all declined with their level of play and production for 3 years now, so why th esurprise or why the inaction to do something about it.. Mayberry,Stutes,Bastardo appear to have been 1-Hit Wonders in 2011 when they flew under the radar, had little expectations placed on them and were not well known around the League, now fast forward to 2012 where scouts have caught up to their weaknesses and here they are perfoming below average and really are at AAA Level Talent wise..
We’;; see what happens, but bottom line is that even if the Phils Rebound the 2nd half of of the Season, with this current Roster and COntract Status of many under-achieving, aging players, the Future does not look very bright for the PHils in comparison to their top competition which is a very poor job by GM Amaro and the entire organization.. where are the young positional players.. The Phils have had relatively the same corp group for 5-6-7 Seasons and they Minor Leagues have still not been able to produce a legitimate OF,3B,IF prospects… C’Mon Man…. (and please don’t tell me Domenic Brown) …

May 5, 2012 10:12 am

Paulman you talk out your arze as if the season is over, take the 3, 4 hitter out of any line up and the team will struggle, the problem with the team is the bullpen, the bats are heating up when ryan howard gets back watch out, you pred icting nats, what a joke

May 5, 2012 10:34 am

Howard was lost last November and Utley hasn’t been a True #3 Hitter in over 2 Seasons which is exactly my Point Jake.. Stop living in the past, it’s 2012 and not 2009 ???? No Excuses for this 2012 Team

May 5, 2012 10:59 am

The Season was lost in the Off-Season in my opinion Jake.. GM R Amaro did not only a piss-poor job to put together a Roster to make a legitimate run in 2012,but has really done very little for future years but to get the team is a deeper hole with poor contracts… Remember the Phils had some $40 Million come off the books after last season with the releases of Oswalt,Lidge,Ibanez,Madson,Gload,Francisco and then overpaid for Papelbon,Rollins, Resigns C Schneider, adds Thome who can’t play a position any longer, fails to address 2B knowing Utleys recent knee situation, knowing that Howard is out for the first 3 months at least and then doesn’t address 3B or LF with more than 1 year band-aids with what plan for future seasons..

May 5, 2012 4:48 pm

Reuben Amaro would be fired by all star break if I was part owner. There is noway in hell Reuben can justify having the 2-3 highest payroll in baseball and roll that lineup out the last 2-3 years. Unacceptable. You hit the nail on the head Paulman this season was lost in Dec, Jan and Feb. Charlie needs to go to. They won a WS despite him.

May 6, 2012 8:12 am

I guess everyone can keep thinking the Nats are garbage and a joke for those who don’t follow or really understand baseball well.. They happen to be the most talented and more importantly, the hungriest tTeam in the Division which is why I picked them to win the NL East back in Febuary… Pitcher Gio Gonzales was probably the best Free-Agent Signing on the Off-Season.. Phils fans and Media can keep living in the past with their hero’s of yesteryear,but the reality is, that the Phils are just not a very good team this season and will be fortunate to end up with 85 wins and will be chasing the more talented Braves and NAtionals all season and just don’t have the horses to do it with their light hitting offense

May 6, 2012 9:48 am

phillies are one trade away from having the best, one of the best line ups in ba thisseball, stop with this bs about nationals, you don’t know jack paulman except to spew garbage for three astraight years how the phillies will not win east, you are hoping you are right this timme, but wrong again,

Amaro is no dope, he is watching, feeling it out, but here is the trade, Cliff Lee for yanks stud centerfielder curtis granderson, phils new line up


There you have best starting line up in bigs, stop with all this bs about charlie too, best manager in all of philly sports history,

May 6, 2012 10:09 am

Take your Phillies Goggles off Jake..
Yanks would not trade CF Granderson for he’s too valuable to their Offense and is their most consistent player along with 2B R Cano as A-Rod,Jeter continue to age and decline in production (although Jeter is having a nice bounce-bak season) ..
Phils are toast and are probably the 3rd Best Team in the NL EAst behind the ANts & Braves and are also behind other NL Teams like the Cardinals,Brewers,Dodgers and Arizona, in reality, they are middle of the pack, medicore,average… Rollins and Polanco can barely hit their Weight anymore… Howard and Utley ??? you can’t expect big production from them leaving the consistent Victorino,Pence & Ruiz.. That’s all this teams got and it’s not good enough.. As they fall further behind, the distraction and chatter of losing Hames becomes greater and greater, just admit it, GM Amaro has set this Franchise back the last 2 Off-Seasons and now the fans are seeing the result of it not only in 2012 but in future Season.. You think Ownership will continue to spend $175 MIllion to be an 85 Win team…Keep dreaiming Jake about the Phils being 1 player away… try about 3 Postional players and at least 2 Arms in the Bullpen and perhaps another Starter depending on Lee’s Status

May 6, 2012 11:12 am

Phils Pitching has dropped from the Top 2 in th NL to 6th in th NL and with a struggling Halladay, injured Lee, and a very shaky Bullpen at best, they are not far from falling out of the Top 10
Phils overall Hitting has move due to #10 in Average but is still lacking in Runs Scored, Extra Base-HIts & HR’s and of course RBI’s.. Phils Team Batting Average is .249 which the Average of all NL Teams so far . but they ranked 11th in HR (only 19) and 15th in Doubles (only 43) and 10th in Runs Scored (101 Runs) . Phils OB-Base % is 15th in the NL at a paltry .292 and Slugging % is ranked 12th at a measley .357
So you have a struggling Offense to produce runs and a Pitching Staff that is trending downwards and I forgot to even mention the Phillie Defense which has always been excellent, but it very average anymore at best.. You have solid fielders at Catcher,SS & CF and that’s about it.. The Corners IF & OF ‘s are below average in comparison to the better teams in NL..
So Jake, I am not making this stuff about the demise of the Phils and in fact, Baseball more than any other major sport is a game of Stats and Trends and probably relies less on emotion then the other major sports and maybe it’s beacuse they play so many games that sheer volume of Stats can give you a better feel about a team and it’s strengths and weaknesses.. but let’s face it, this 2012 Philly team is just not very good on paper and the Stats bear it out and if they can’t avaerage about 4.5 to 5 Runs per Game (right now they are averaging about 3.5 Runs per game) they will not win many games