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.

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

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Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.

Tonight's lineup: Odubel Herrera leads off; Cesar Hernandez (groin) out

Tonight's lineup: Odubel Herrera leads off; Cesar Hernandez (groin) out

A day after going 0 for 5 with five strikeouts, Odubel Herrera is leading off for the Phillies in their series opener Friday night against the Reds (see game notes).

It's the first time Herrera is leading off since last Aug. 19, a span of 84 games.

Cesar Hernandez gets the night off. He's been dealing with a groin pull for 10 days, manager Pete Mackanin said Friday.

Andres Blanco bats second and plays second.

Maikel Franco is back in the six-hole after going 1 for 5 with two strikeouts in the cleanup spot Thursday. Tommy Joseph bats fourth and Michael Saunders fifth.

Cameron Rupp, who walked three times in Thursday's win over the Rockies, catches Aaron Nola and bats seventh.

1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Andres Blanco, 2B
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Aaron Nola, P