Freddy Galvis in Center Field Could Enable Darin Ruf Callup

Freddy Galvis in Center Field Could Enable Darin Ruf Callup

Freddy Galvis' versatility has offered Charlie Manuel plenty of flexibility with his lineup card. But his latest dimension, potentially taking his Gold Glove-caliber defense to center field, could do the same for the roster.

Specifically, it could allow the organization to DFA John Mayberry Jr. to callup Darin Ruf.

Some cold water first. Galvis has yet to step foot in center at any level. While Manuel said it's likely to happen here and soon, it's tough to imagine Galvis impressing enough within the foreseeable future to justify dropping the only true backup center fielder (in other words, not Laynce Nix) on the roster. Which is what would happen, seeing as Mayberry is out of options.

Still, Mayberry's roster spot has been all but secured, not because of his .244 average and .300 on-base percentage over the past two years, but because he figured to be Ben Revere's only spell. In theory, this would lower that shield. Between this streaky Phillies offense and Ruf's .365 average with nine RBI in his last 14 games at Triple-A, maybe enough to necessitate a move.

Maybe the biggest perk here is that it would break the linkage between Ruf and Delmon Young. Manuel said only yesterday that he expects Young's .176/.250/.265 line since his 2013 debut to elevate. But how long does Manuel give it? Another month and a half, and the Phillies season could be over. Galvis-to-center/Mayberry-to-waivers would enable making Ruf a reinforcement in time to keep the Phillies relevant.

It also gives Manuel more ways to get Galvis' bat in the lineup and help it develop even further.

As for a timetable: Circle their June 11-13 series in Minnesota. That allows the organization to debut Ruf (a) on the road and (b) as a DH first, kind of how they did Young in Cleveland. It also gives Manuel time to break in Galvis in center and observe Ruf and Mayberry heading in divergent directions -- assuming that happens and means Ruf isn't the one to struggle.

Reasons for calling up Ruf are easy. He's right-handed, actually hits lefties, can tap out Howard without a major offensive compromise (as there would be with Mayberry, Nix or Kevin Frandsen) and, you know, may or may not have 40-home run potential, something you'd probably want to find out about sooner rather than later. Especially since here, "later" could be after the complete deconstruction of your roster.

The question is, does Galvis playing center create a roster spot for him?

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty scored the tiebreaking goal in Montreal's three-goal third period as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Thursday night for their sixth straight win.

Alex Galchenyuk and Torrey Mitchell also scored to help Montreal improve to 7-0-1. Carey Price made 29 saves to win for the fourth time in four starts this season.

Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who lost against an Eastern-Conference opponent for the first time this season. Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots.

With the scored tied 1-1, Pacioretty got the go-ahead goal at 10:23 by beating Bishop glove-side. Blown coverage by the Lightning left the Canadiens' captain all alone on the edge of the face-off circle, and Bishop couldn't see the shot with Andrew Shaw posted firmly in front of goal.

Montreal remains the only NHL team still undefeated in regulation (see full recap).

Crosby's late goal gives Penguins win over Islanders
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel also scored -- each getting his third of the season -- to help the Penguins win for the third time in four games and improve to 5-0-1 at home.

Crosby, playing for the second straight game after missing the first six with a concussion, scored with 2:25 left as he caught a pass from Scott Wilson at the top of the crease and quickly turned to his forehand to put the puck behind Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Kessel added a power-play goal to cap the scoring 32 seconds later.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots while starting for the eighth straight game.

Travis Hamonic and Shane Prince scored for the Islanders, and Halak finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Streaking Red Wings win marathon shootout vs. Blues
ST. LOUIS -- Henrik Zetterberg scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Zetterberg's goal gave the Red Wings a six-game winning streak.

In the shootout, St. Louis' first shooter, Alexander Steen, scored but then Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk, David Perron, Nail Yakupoc, Robby Fabbri, Patrick Burgland and Dmitrjij Jaskin all came up short.

Gustav Nyquist scored on Detroit's second attempt but Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheehan and Darren Helm all missed.

St. Louis had the better chances in overtime. Center Jaden Schwartz missed a wide-open net early in the extra session. Jori Lehtera was stopped on a breakaway midway through the period by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek (see full recap).