Manuel to Papelbon: Howard was in right spot

Manuel to Papelbon: Howard was in right spot

June 21, 2013, 7:15 pm
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Charlie Manuel defended Ryan Howard's defensive alignment in Wednesday's loss to the Nationals. (USA Today Images)

Charlie Manuel didn’t disagree with Jonathan Papelbon, who on Wednesday said poor fundamental play was plaguing the Phillies.

But Manuel did dispute Papelbon’s contention that Ryan Howard was out of position on a key play that turned into an infield hit and contributed to Papelbon’s blown save in Wednesday night’s 11-inning loss to Washington.

“Howard was in the right spot,” Manuel said.

On Wednesday, Papelbon said he was surprised that Howard was playing even with the bag on a 3-1 count with Denard Span at theplate. Span slashed a ball to Howard’s right. The ball clanged off Howard’s glove and bounced to second baseman Freddy Galvis, who made a low throw to Papelbon at first.

“Although the count is 3-1, Span can bunt," Manuel said. "Howard was up in the right spot. But it’s just like everything -- everyone wants to voice their opinion. Howard was in the right place.”

Manuel said he would speak to Papelbon.

“I will,” he said. “I’m not afraid to.”

Manuel didn’t have a problem with Papelbon’s overall observations about fundamentals.

“I saw some of what he said on Comcast,” Manuel said. “I’ve been talking about fundamentals for two years. I’ve been talking about pitching fundamentals and hitting and stuff.

I’ve been talking about fundamentals for two years very strongly.”

The Phillies entered Friday night’s game 35-38, 7½ games back in the NL East.

Manuel has continually said the Phils need to play better, produce better and execute better. Maybe it can happen now that they have a full lineup. The Phils welcomed Chase Utley back to the lineup after a month on the disabled list (oblique strain) Friday night (see story). Utley batted second against Mets right-hander Jeremy Hefner.