07/23/09 8:25 PM ET
Dobbs seeking chances to face lefties
Veteran reserve mainly sees at-bats against right-handers
By David Gurian-Peck / MLB.com
Problem is, the Phillies' reserve is in a bit of a Catch-22.
"Can he hit lefties? Maybe, I don't know yet," manager Charlie Manuel said. "But at the same time, we've never been in the position where we string him out there and let him play."
In other words, Dobbs needs to play against lefties to prove his talents, but doesn't get many chances to play against them because he has not proven his talents.
Asked if he might reconsider his approach, Manuel replied, "I don't know."
Dobbs was the Phillies' primary left fielder while Raul Ibanez was on the disabled list with a strained right groin. During that stretch, Dobbs hit .396 with three homers and nine RBIs in 17 games, but watched right-handed-hitting John Mayberry Jr. face lefty starters.
Now, Dobbs plays primarily when Ibanez needs a rest and a righty is on the hill.
Dobbs did get one showcase opportunity Wednesday. With the bases loaded and two outs, Cubs manager Lou Pinella brought in lefty Sean Marshall. Manuel decided to leave Dobbs in the game and was rewarded by the 30-year-old, who slapped a two-run opposite-field single.
"I thought he was the best option," said Manuel, who had catcher Carlos Ruiz and infielder Eric Bruntlett available on the bench. "We had the bases loaded, and we needed runs. And between him and those two right-handed hitters, I felt he was more apt to a hit a home run. Believe me, that comes in to play sometimes. You never know until you put the guy out there."
Over his six-year career, Dobbs has 904 plate appearances against righties and just 60 against lefties. His batting averages are somewhat comparable -- .276 versus .263 -- but his on-base-plus-slugging percentage is nearly 200 points higher against right-handers.
"Sometimes, yeah, I think he can hit left-handers at times," Manuel said. "But I'm the manager, you know? That's kind of how I look at it. And I think I do know something."
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.