Odubel Herrera staying in centerfield for Phillies – for now

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SAN FRANCISCO – Odubel Herrera was back in centerfield for the Phillies on Sunday afternoon.

Manager Pete Mackanin said there are no plans to move Herrera to right field.

Speculation of such a move arose Saturday night when Herrera, who was not in the starting lineup for that night’s game, took balls in right field before the game.

“He’s versatile enough that you never know down the road what could happen,” Mackanin said. “But there’s nothing imminent. He’s my centerfielder.”

Herrera is a converted second baseman who made a solid transition to center last season. He made just five errors in 136 games. This season he has seven errors and on this trip has made a couple of non-plays that could have been scored errors. One of those non-plays came in Friday night’s 5-4 loss to the Giants. The next day, Herrera was on the bench. Mackanin said his decision to sit Herrera did not reflect unhappiness with the player’s performance. He said he simply wanted more right-handed bats in the lineup against San Francisco lefty Madison Bumgarner and therefore used Peter Bourjos in center.

Mackanin said he wanted Herrera to take balls in right field before Saturday’s game simply to change his perspective. He added that he was not trying to send the player a message, but if the player takes it that way …

“It's like sometimes you have a right-handed hitter take practice swings left-handed to change the perspective,” Mackanin said.

“There are no plans to move him. If he reads something into it, good, maybe he’ll think he’d better do better.”

Herrera was a second baseman in the Texas system before moving to the outfield and being selected by the Phillies in the Rule 5 draft in December 2014. There are no plans to move Herrera to second base. In fact, scouts who saw him play the position say he played it poorly. It's highly doubtful a team that values defense such as the Phillies would ever make that move.

If the Phillies ever got around to the point where they wanted to move Herrera to a corner outfield spot, Bourjos would be an option in center. So would Aaron Altherr when he returns from the disabled list later this season. Roman Quinn projects as a top centerfielder, but he has had trouble putting together a healthy season and is on the DL at Double A Reading. He has missed significant development time throughout his minor-league career.

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