Howard's 'Replacements' Batting a Cool .190; Time to Move up Chooch?

Howard's 'Replacements' Batting a Cool .190; Time to Move up Chooch?

The idea that the 2012 Phillies might have trouble scoring runs has been fairly well explored at this rate. We also fully acknowledge that spring training numbers can be very tough to read into with any kind of accuracy, so this should all be taken with some proportionately-sized grain of salt.
With that in mind, the spring totals for John Mayberry, Jr. and Ty Wigginton have certainly  underwhelmed. With Wiggington expected to see the bulk of the time at first base in Howard's stead and with Mayberry more than likely filling in the power quotient in the Big Piece's absence, it seemed prudent to see how they were faring.
The answer wasn't pretty.
In 61 plate appearances, Wiggington has just 11 hits, amounting to a .180 BA. Mayberry, separately, is third on the team in plate appearances, but has turned only 15 of his 75 trips to dish into hits, producing a Mendoza line special of .200. Together, that's 26 hits on 136 plate appearances for a combined .191.
Thus we ask: might it finally be time for Carlos Ruiz to make a long-awaited climb up the order if Wigginton and Mayberry's spring struggles carry over into the games that really count in April?
For reference, Ruiz's number of attempts pales in comparison to the other two as he's naturally been splitting time with backup Brian Schneider, but Chooch has a .500 BA and .522 OBP in 44 PA's. Ruiz has traditionally batted out of the seventh and eight spots, as catchers are wont to do, but did hop up to sixth at times last season. He's also shown a certain knack for coming up clutch in big spots for a guy who's traditionally occupied the bottom of the order. 
Can we also point out he finished behind only Pence with a .283 average last year and was the only starter to hit above .300 in 2010?
Again, spring training numbers might be somewhat flawed indicators in the cases of Mayberry and Wigginton, but given Ruiz's March success and his history at the plate over the last two seasons, how would you feel about moving Chooch up in the order? If you're on board, just how high do you want him?
If you're up for it, follow Tim H's example and fill out your preferred lineup card below.

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

On Wednesday, the Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second-round pick, as well as the option to swap 2017 second-round selections (see story).

"I want to thank Ersan Ilyasova for his positive contributions to this organization both on and off the basketball court," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. "Ersan is a true professional whose daily examples of hard work, focus and consistency have helped facilitate the ongoing growth of our program and culture."

The Sixers took to Instagram to express their appreciation for Ilyasova’s leadership. Ilyasova quickly embraced the role of a veteran go-to when he was traded to the Sixers in early November. Both posts below exemplify his team-first mentality.

✊🏼 A true Pro @ersanilyasova7

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Thanks for being a great teammate @ersanilyasova7. Wishing you the best in ATL

A post shared by Rob Covington (@atf_33) on

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rickard Rakell broke a tie with his second goal with 2:34 to play, and the Anaheim Ducks snapped Boston's four-game winning streak under new coach Bruce Cassidy with a 5-3 victory over the Bruins on Wednesday night.

Rakell also scored in the second period for the Ducks and has 24 goals in his outstanding season. Ondrej Kase, Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, and Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves in his first victory since Jan. 23.

Frank Vatrano scored the tying goal in the third period for the Bruins, who hadn't lost since Cassidy replaced Claude Julien on Feb. 7. Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara scored early goals, and Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots.

Anaheim beat Boston for the seventh straight time (see full recap).

Rare goal from Russell lifts Oilers over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kris Russell's goal with 7:58 left was his first in more than a year and lifted the Edmonton Oilers over Florida 4-3 on Wednesday night to snap the Panthers' five-game winning streak.

Russell's goal was his first since Feb. 11, 2016, when he played for Calgary. He went goalless in his first 48 games with the Oilers.

Fellow defenseman Oscar Klefbom also scored for Edmonton, as did forwards Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Connor McDavid, who came into the night leading the NHL scoring race, had an assist on Russell's goal.

Aleksander Barkov, Colton Sceviour and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida. Keith Yandle had two assists for the Panthers, giving him 400 points for his career.

Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots for the Oilers, who have won their last eight games at Florida -- last losing on the Panthers' ice in 2002. James Reimer made 31 saves for the Panthers, who just completed a 5-0-0 road trip (see full recap).