Young Phillies center fielder Mickey Moniak is making progress towards a May return from the broken hand he suffered at the end of spring training. Moniak was the talk of the town through March, as he got off to a blistering start in spring training and looked ticketed for the starting center field job on opening day. That came to a screeching halt when an errant pitch broke his right hand, and shelved him for the first month-plus of the season.
Moniak has begun taking light swings and throwing, signaling he’s still a ways off from returning, but he is making progress. Rookie Matt Vierling held down center field during Moniak’s absence, but struggled to the tune of a .154/.244/.179 slash line. A triumphant return from veteran Odúbel Herrera has buoyed the Phillies recently, as Herrera grabbed the starting job immediately, and hasn’t looked back, slashing a staggering .389/.400/.1000 over his first 20 plate appearances.
Moniak’s return should give President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski a bit of a tough decision to make, as one of Vierling, Herrera or Moniak will likely be sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Vierling has looked overmatched thus far, but sending him down would leave two lefty-swinging options in center. Whichever way it shakes out, Moniak’s May return will give the Phillies some much needed depth in the outfield.