Please, please, Mr. Manuel — please resist the urge to take Pat Burrell out of the game in the sixth inning just because you’re used to doing so.
In the sixth inning, there is still a third of the game remaining. Pat is not such a significant liability in the field (he still has a rifle and his mobility is only somewhat limited) to justify removing his bat from the offense when there are still usually two at bats for him remaining in the game.
He got fewer swings because manager Charlie Manuel would bench him for spells when he struggled, and last season it became almost automatic that when the Phillies had a late lead, Manuel would pull Burrell for Michael Bourn for defensive purposes because Burrell doesn't have great range.As the clubhouse knows, he's a machine.
Burrell definitely would like a few more at-bats this year. He can make that happen by avoiding those notorious slumps and convincing Manuel he doesn't need to be replaced as often for defensive purposes.
"We've talked about that," said Burrell, who has been slowed at times with a bad right foot that required surgery in 2005. "The one thing he knows is that if I'm on second base in a tie game with two outs, I'll be the first to say, 'You might want to put somebody who has a little more speed in to score.' That's not an issue. But I'm missing some at-bats when I think I can help. We got into kind of a rut last year where it was kind of a two-way switch with third base and left field.
So if you want to take him out in the eighth or ninth inning… when the Phils are already ahead by two runs or so… that’s more acceptable. But stop taking him out in the sixth. (Or the seventh.)
Pat’s going to have a big year this year. Just have a little confidence in the man.
See you on Monday.
The Left Fielder [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Pat Burrell Slideshow [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
[ Photo via Flickr user jakesg ]