Inbox: Why not play Wigginton at second?
Phillies beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers questions from fans
Why isn't Ty Wigginton in the conversation to play some second base while Chase Utley is out? He played a significant amount of innings there in 2010 and would most likely be an offensive improvement over Freddy Galvis.
-- Joe R., Philadelphia
The Phillies are willing to sacrifice some offense for defense. Wigginton is versatile, but I think most agree Galvis is a far superior defender. And with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels on the mound, the Phils want to make sure their fielders are catching the ball, turning double plays and getting their pitchers off the mound as quickly as possible. If you had Wigginton play second base, that means John Mayberry Jr., Jim Thome or Laynce Nix are playing first base. That's not a terribly strong right side of the infield. If it's Thome or Nix at first, Philadelphia would almost have to play Galvis to make up for the first baseman's lack of range. And if Mayberry is playing first, somebody else is playing left. You saw in the season opener Thursday that Mayberry is the team's best defensive left fielder.
How do the Phillies plan on scoring runs this year?
-- Gary C., Tampa, Fla.
The season opener did not alleviate the team's offensive concerns. Philadelphia is going to have to manufacture runs. That means smart baserunning, advancing the runner and stealing a base when it makes sense. Listen, these are not the 2008-09 Phillies, no matter how much "small ball" they play. They're not going to put six or more runs on the scoreboard every night. They're just not. Fortunately for them, they might have the best rotation in baseball, so they won't need to.
When do you think Utley and Ryan Howard will be back?
-- Jeff D., Philadelphia
I predicted on my blog this week that Utley would be back May 21 and Howard would be back June 12. I expect to be completely wrong on both predictions. I'm not sure if Utley's trip to Arizona to rehab his left knee means he's progressing slower than expected or not. Utley came back May 23 last season, and he said he has less pain in his knee this year than last year. If that's true and that means anything, maybe he can be back around the same time. I have no clue about Howard. The Phillies say his left Achilles is fine, but the wound from his second surgical procedure is still healing. I'm not sure how much longer it will take to heal before he gets on the field and running again.
Galvis was the second baseman on Opening Day. I'm wondering when the last time a rookie was in the Phillies' Opening Day lineup.
-- Dave H., Swannanoa, N.C.
Larry Bowa and Denny Doyle made their big league debuts as rookie Opening Day starters in 1970.
I'm a Phillies fan out here in Omaha. How can I get an audio game feed via an internet stream?
-- Ron S., Omaha, Neb.
Do you believe the Phillies have enough funds to re-sign Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Hamels?
-- Cameron M., N.J.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said late last month he thinks the Phillies can re-sign the three of them. But is it likely? He could not say. I'm not sure how the Phils can afford all three, unless each signs club-friendly deals. And what are the chances of that?
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.