The Phillies activated center fielder Odúbel Herrera off the Injured List Friday, clearing up their murky outfield situation a bit. Rookie center fielder Simón Muzziotti was optioned to Double-A Reading in a corresponding move.
Herrera was a fixture in the Phillies’ lineup from 2015-2019 after being selected in the 2014 Rule V Draft from the Texas Rangers. A 2016 All-Star, Herrera adds a left-handed hitting complement to the center field situation to pair with struggling rookie Matt Vierling. Herrera should prove to be a boon to a treacherous outfield defense for the Phils; one which has gotten worse this past week with the normally sure handed Bryce Harper being relegated to designated hitter duties after suffering an elbow strain.
Muzziotti is a 23-year-old Venezuelan native who was added to the opening day roster at the eleventh hour after former first overall pick Mickey Moniak went down with a fractured right hand in the Phillies’ last spring training game. The left-handed hitting and throwing Muzziotti didn’t see the field much during his recent cup of coffee, tallying only nine plate appearances over nine contests. He hasn’t done much in that extremely limited sample size, logging a single and two strikeouts. However, Muzziotti was able to give Manager Joe Girardi a bit of flexibility late in games, as he was used multiple times as a defensive replacement in center field for the good-not-great Vierling. Muzziotti will likely get at least one more crack at the big leagues this season, as the youngster currently sits at number 21 on MLB.com’s rankings of the top 30 Phillies prospects.
Center field will become a bit more crowded later next month once Mickey Moniak returns from the Injured List, as the soon-to-be 24-year-old was off to a torrid start in spring training before an errant pitch derailed his progress. Phillies fans will hope that Moniak can regain his fantastic March form and provide an upgrade over the scuffling Vierling.