PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Young had a sterling reputation as a solid baseball player long before he put on a Phillies uniform in Spring Training.
But with Young having played his entire career in the American League with the Texas Rangers, Phillies fans had limited familiarity with him. He has impressed so far. He entered Wednesday night's game against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park hitting .345 (10-for-29) with one double, one triple, one home run, three RBIs, four walks, a .552 slugging percentage and a .424 on-base percentage. He also has showed his baserunning skills and has held his own so far at third base.
Young is confident things will improve for the Phillies, who have struggled early.
"If we focus on how we play and our style of play and our energy level, we feel like the other things are going to follow," he said.
Phillies have capable arms biding their time
PHILADELPHIA -- Attrition in a rotation is inevitable.
The Phillies used nine starters in 2012, seven in 2011, nine in 2010, 12 in 2009, seven in 2008 and 13 in 2007. So at some point the Phillies are going to need somebody other than Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan to pitch in their rotation.
They will most likely find that pitcher in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
They have options. They have right-handers Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin and B.J. Rosenberg and left-hander Adam Morgan. Cloyd and Rosenberg have big league experience, although Rosenberg has spent most of his career as a reliever. Morgan, Martin and Pettibone are considered some of the top prospects in the organization with Morgan impressing nearly everybody during Spring Training.
"We've got some good-looking, young pitchers there," Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. "It's a different challenge for them. Hopefully they prove they belong to pitch even above that. A lot of those guys are guys that we either traded for or developed. It's enjoyable to watch them. In the business I'm in and a lot of people are in, which is signing and developing players, that's the fun part of it. Watching them get better and move up through the system."
The Phillies signed right-handers Aaron Cook and Rodrigo Lopez to Minor League contracts before Spring Training. They figured to provide the Phillies depth in Triple-A. But the Phillies felt good enough about rising stars like Morgan and Martin they released Cook and Lopez. Looper explained the process.
"We started the [Minor League] season with four clubs, which is 100 players," he said. "For the 100 guys we look at, they're not all prospects. So we start with our prospects. For their development, what is the best place for them? What's the best place for [Class A Lakewood shortstop] Roman Quinn? Then you put him there and you work around that. It just so happened in this case we had those starters; we felt like the best place for them for their development and for the Phillies future, that's where they belonged. They filled up the spots in Triple-A."
And it's a good bet Phillies fans will see one of them at some point this season.
Mayberry solid for Phillies in right-field opening
PHILADELPHIA -- Delmon Young could join the Phillies before the end of the month, but in the meantime the team needs somebody to play right field.
John Mayberry Jr. started in right Wednesday night against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. He has started there five times compared with three for Laynce Nix and once for Ezequiel Carrera. Mayberry, who had a chance to become an everyday player last season, was hitting .333 (5-for-15) with three doubles, one home run, three RBIs, four walks and a .733 slugging percentage entering Wednesday. But regardless of how well Mayberry plays this month, Young is scheduled to be in right whenever he is ready to go.
"Until he arrives here we definitely have to play John, Nix and Carrera," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
• Phillies right-hander Chad Durbin entered Wednesday with an 8.10 ERA in four appearances, allowing five hits, three runs and four walks and has struck out four in 3 1/3 innings. Manager Charlie Manuel is being patient with him but indicated that at some point he needed to see improvement.
"We know what Durbin can do," Manuel said. "At the same time, we'll see what happens. That's part of the game. You've got to hold your own. You've got to keep pitching. You've got to keep your job."
• Lefty Cliff Lee is the first pitcher to throw eight-plus innings while allowing two earned runs or less in his first two starts of the season since Tampa Bay's Matt Garza (three starts) in 2010. Lee is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA. The other four Phillies starters are 0-5 with a 9.68 ERA.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.