Ryne Sandberg sat in the Phillies’ dugout on a drizzly Saturday afternoon, explaining why utility man Freddy Galvis was recalled to the big club.
Sandberg’s team entered Saturday entombed in last place and 16 1/2 games out of first.
By his words, it sure sounded like the manager knows this is evaluation time for 2015.
“That’s where these games become important for him and players to show what they can do, to set the tone going into the offseason,” Sandberg said before the Phils' game against St. Louis. “To really establish them going forward and how the organization looks at them and where they fit in.”
Galvis was called up from Triple A Lehigh Valley prior to Saturday’s game. To make room for his spot, Reid Brignac was designated for assignment (see story).
The 24-year-old started the season on the disabled list when he was diagnosed with MRSA during spring training. He returned to the Phillies and looked lost at the plate, going 2 for 42 (.048) before the team decided he needed work at the minor-league level.
“He got off to a slow start with the bat coming out of spring training with his injuries and the last time we saw him, his timing was way off and he was struggling,” Sandberg said. “So a number of at-bats at Triple A, which he’s got under his belt now, has worked a long way with him and he’s been swinging the bat pretty well.”
Galvis hit .267 with 14 doubles and three homers in 35 games at Lehigh Valley. The switch-hitter gives Sandberg flexibility off the bench, both in the field and at the plate.
“He has a knack for defense at several positions,” Sandberg said. “You could probably play him at all infield positions and he’s actually played some center and left field in more of a pinch type of situation.
“Reid Brignac did a good job while he was with us. He helped us win some games when he played third base and Cody (Asche) was out and he had a chance to play. It was a little bit difficult with him with all our infielders being left-handed hitters. It’s tough to get him some spots, where Freddy will create a little more versatility.”
It also creates a second chance for Galvis to leave a better impression on team officials during this audition period. According to Sandberg, Galvis will get that chance, while veterans receive some rest to close out 2014.
After all, evaluation should be the purpose of these remaining games.
“That could be big for him, ending on a good note and coming in doing a good job,” Sandberg said. “The task will also be getting him in there with some playing time and get some veteran guys some days off down the stretch — that will be key for his playing time.”