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05/07/12 8:00 PM ET

Mayberry gets start as Phils face lefty Niese

PHILADELPHIA -- Arguably the biggest offensive disappointment for the Phillies has been John Mayberry Jr.

He entered the season as the lineup's X factor after putting up big numbers in the second half of last season. With Ryan Howard missing at least the first couple months of the season, Mayberry stood to play quite a bit at first base and left field.

But Mayberry entered Monday night's series opener hitting just .203 (12-for-59) with three doubles and two RBIs. His .254 slugging percentage ranked last on the team among players with 30 or more at-bats. His playing time has dwindled as a result. He has started 11 games this season, but just three times since April 17.

So, naturally, Mayberry hit second Monday.

He made a fantastic diving catch in the top of the first inning and knocked in Jimmy Rollins from third base with a sacrifice fly.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he hit Mayberry second because he wanted to keep some speed at the top of the lineup, and because Mayberry had some success against Mets left-hander Jon Niese in the past, hitting .294 (5-for-17) with two homers and four RBIs.

Worth noting

• The Phillies are encouraged with the way left-hander Antonio Bastardo has thrown recently. He could see more work in a setup role, which has primarily belonged to right-hander Chad Qualls.

• Major League Baseball announced the 30 winners of the 2012 Honorary Bat Girl program, which recognizes fans affected by breast cancer and demonstrated a commitment of "Going to Bat" in the fight against the disease. The Phillies representative, Barbie Brown, will be recognized before Sunday's game against the Padres at Citizens Bank Park.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Zo Zone. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.