4/22/2013 10:45 P.M. ET
Nix excels in pinch-hitting role for Phillies
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Laynce Nix has been a pinch-hitting star the first few weeks of the season.
Entering Monday's action, he is hitting .500 (5-for-10) with two home runs and five RBIs. Phillies pinch-hitters have three homers and 10 RBIs overall. That accounts for 21.4 percent of the team's home runs and 15.1 percent of its RBIs.
Nix is enjoying success in part because he is not just coming off the bench this season. He has started seven times in right field.
"I've always felt Nix could hit if he stayed healthy and we got him some at-bats, especially against right-handed pitching," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Because when he makes contact, he hits the ball hard. He can help you. He's already helped us. He hit that home run that helped us win a ballgame, and his hit [Sunday] night helped us. That showed how well he can hit the ball hard if he's getting some playing time."
Of course, Manuel has a direct say in that. Greg Dobbs and Matt Stairs watched their pinch-hitting numbers drop when their playing time dropped in the past. That is no coincidence. Whenever Delmon Young joins the team, Nix could also see his playing time drop. How much could correlate to his future success as a pinch-hitter.
Mayberry attempts to prove himself in outfield
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. had an opportunity to earn an everyday job last season, but he hit just .204 through April and .244 with a .632 OPS through May.
Nobody knows what the future holds for Mayberry once Delmon Young joins the team in the next few weeks, but he is trying to make a case for himself again. He entered Monday's series opener against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park hitting .316 (12-for-38) with six doubles, one home run, four RBIs and a .962 OPS in 17 games. He hit second in Charlie Manuel's lineup in the series opener, but he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
"He's been getting on base and stuff," Manuel said. "He's been getting some hits. He stole a base last night. He's got six walks. You guys are talking about how we don't get any walks. He's got six of them."
Mayberry, who entered the night tied for second on the team in walks, could see his playing time cut if the Phillies feel Young can play competently defensively in right field. Manuel also has the option of platooning Domonic Brown and Mayberry in left field, which would continue to give Mayberry at-bats.
Mayberry is hitting .323 (10-for-31) with five doubles, one home run, three RBIs and a .997 OPS against righties this season. He had hit .232 with a mediocre .680 OPS against righties from 2009-12, so that has been a definite improvement.
"When you play good, you always have a chance," said Manuel.
Pettibone's father also pitched for Manuel
PHILADELPHIA -- Jonathan Pettibone is not the first Pettibone to pitch for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
Pettibone's father, Jay Pettibone, pitched for Manuel in 1984, when he managed Double-A Orlando. Jay Pettibone had a six-year Minor League career and made four starts for the Minnesota Twins in '83. Jonathan Pettibone made his big league debut Monday against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.
"I remember he pitched for me," Manuel said about Jay Pettibone. "Sinker, slider."
Asked if he felt old knowing a father and son pitched for him, Manuel, 69, said, "Not really. I think old is how you feel, probably what you make of yourself."
But asked what he would think if he managed a father, son and grandson combination, Manuel said, "I think that'd be great. I think that would be really good. I would like that. I would like that very much. That would be super."
Ruiz set to begin rehab assignment in Clearwater
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Class A Clearwater.
Ruiz is serving a 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant. Assuming there are no postponements in the Phillies' schedule, Ruiz can join the Phillies on Sunday against the Mets at Citi Field.
Phillies catchers have a combined .614 OPS, which ranked 25th in baseball entering Monday's games. Ruiz has a career .781 OPS, and he posted a career-high .935 OPS last season.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.