ATLANTA -- Just one game into the season, the Phillies have a new player. Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, claimed off waivers from Cleveland on Tuesday, joined the club before Wednesday night’s game against the Braves.
Carrera, 25, replaces Ender Inciarte as the team’s fifth outfielder. Inciarte, a Rule 5 pick from Arizona, had never played above Single A before making the Phils’ opening day roster. He lasted just one game before being designated for assignment. He is on waivers and could be claimed by another club. The Phils have tried to acquire him outright in a trade with Arizona, but haven’t been able to pull off a deal. If no team claims Inciarte, he could end up back in Arizona’s system.
“I like Inciarte,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “He has a chance to be a good player. Carrera’s got more experience.”
GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said Carrera was a “more polished hitter than Ender. He’s got speed and versatility. He can play three outfield positions. We’ll see what we’ve got.”
The Phils’ outfield situation figures to be in flux for several more weeks. Delmon Young is making progress in his recovery from offseason ankle surgery. He could be ready to take over in right field by the end of the month. When he arrives, the Phils will have to make a roster move likely by lopping off an outfielder.
Carrera bats and throws left-handed. He hit .255 with two homers, 25 RBIs and a .306 on-base percentage in 116 games with Cleveland the last two seasons. Out of minor-league options, he fell victim to a numbers crunch in Cleveland’s overhauled outfield and was placed on waivers at the end of spring training.
Carrera’s best tool is his speed. In fact, he was 11 for 13 in stolen base attempts with the Indians in spring training. He hit .279 with a homer, three RBIs and a .367 on-base percentage in 20 game Cactus League games.