December 3, 2022

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With Bohm producing, is return to 3B next?

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MIAMI — Alec Bohm is doing everything he can. 

He still hasn’t played third base since his three-error game against the Mets on Monday. But he finally got back into the Phillies’ starting lineup, and he keeps raking. 

On a day the Phillies’ offense finally blew up, Bohm was at the center of Saturday’s 10-3 win over the Marlins at loanDepot park. Batting fifth as the designated hitter, he went 2-for-3 with a pair of sacrifice flies and a team-high three RBIs.

On the season, Bohm is now 7-for-10. In this series alone, he’s 4-for-5, and he’s hit in all three games after notching pinch-hit singles the first two nights. Johan Camargo has played every inning at third.

So the question looms: When will Bohm play third base again? With every crack of the bat, he’s forcing the Phillies’ hand a little more. 

“Yeah, I mean, he is,” manager Joe Girardi said after Saturday’s game, stressing he still believes in Bohm and that it’s important to get him back at the hot corner. 

Girardi has fielded the question about Bohm’s return to third every day of this series. Every day, he’s said he’ll get Bohm back in the field … soon … but exactly when, the skipper won’t say.

Before Thursday’s series opener, Girardi said, “He’s gonna get back in there, don’t worry.” And after the game, after Bohm’s first pinch-hit, Girardi added, “We talk about it every day.” 

On Friday, Girardi said, matter-of-factly, “He’s gonna play third again.” Reflecting on a multi-error game Bohm had against the Braves as a rookie — it was his ninth career game, and Bohm went on to be the NL’s Rookie of the Year runner-up — Girardi commented, “We just need him to play the way he’s capable of, that’s all. If you remember, he had a day similar to that in 2020 in Atlanta. He bounced back great. So I think he’s gonna bounce back.”

And on Saturday afternoon: “Alec’s gonna play. We’re gonna run him back out there, you can count on it. … Sometimes, when you have a night like he had that night, you take a step back before you go forward. He’s done the work that he needs to do, and we’re pleased with that and the way he’s handled everything. I think there’s a lot of growth in him, and you’re gonna see him back out there.”

Bohm has been on the field early each day in Miami, taking ground ball after ground ball at third base, waiting for his next opportunity to get his glove back on in a game.

Bohm said Saturday that over his first three seasons in the big leagues, Phillies veterans like Neil Walker and Jay Bruce had set the example for him on “how to get ready and stay ready on the bench.” Now, others like Nick Castellanos, who has the locker next to Bohm in Miami, are helping to keep him locked in.

In Saturday’s win, Bohm showed what he’s made of at the plate. Both of his hits and his first sac fly came with two strikes, as he battled from behind in the count each time. 

His first at-bat came with the bases loaded in the top of the first inning. Bohm fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches from Marlins lefty Trevor Rogers, then ripped a 98 mph line drive to center field. If it weren’t right at center fielder Bryan De La Cruz, it would have brought home multiple runs. As it stood, the sac fly still opened the scoring.

His next at-bat, Bohm was the first batter to face righty reliever Cody Poteet after the Phillies chased Rogers in the second. With two more runners on, Bohm laced a 103 mph opposite-field RBI single off a 96 mph fastball at the top of the strike zone, a nice piece of two-strike hitting.

Bohm fought off another tough 1-2 pitch and went the other way again for an infield single his third time up, then picked up his third RBI with his second sac fly in the sixth.

“I guess, to me, it doesn’t really matter when the at-bat comes,” Bohm said. “Really, I’m just trying to stay out of my own way, and not do too much, and just let the game come to me.”

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