8/25/2013 3:26 A.M. ET
Bernadina gets a chance to be Phils' leading man
By Jay Greenberg / Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- After pledging to use a variety of lineups to keep his bench involved and regulars fresh, interim manager Ryne Sandberg on Saturday night tried Roger Bernadina in the leadoff spot for the first time in the four games since the outfielder became a member of the Phillies.
"I want to see what he can do there," said Sandberg. "I would love to see him on base four times and watch him run the bases."
That wasn't quite the case, but Bernadina did contribute two hits to the 18-inning battle -- a 12-7 loss -- one of them a solo homer, his third of the season and first with Philadelphia.
Bernadina, one of two veteran outfielders -- Casper Wells being the other -- picked up by the Phillies after Ben Revere went on the disabled list on July 14 with a broken right foot, was hitting .172 in 157 at-bats when released by the Nationals. He has a creditable .257 career average as a pinch-hitter, and Sandberg is of the belief that an occasional start will make a player that much more effective off the bench.
"It's one of the reasons why I like to adjust lineups every once in a while," said Sandberg. "It makes the players think.
"[If] a guy [is] struggling to get on base for whatever reason, you put him in the leadoff spot, and now his job is to have a good eye, take some walks. A guy batting second, it encourages him to use the hole [on a] hit-and-run. When you move them around, it changes their mind-set, and that's often a good thing.
"I like to utilize the bench and get guys in there. It keeps them into it and sharp. It goes a long way with getting through a whole season."
In the eight games since Sandberg replaced Charlie Manuel, Rollins has been rested twice. But it's not only when they look at the posted lineup after arriving at the clubhouse that the Phillies have been told to expect the unexpected.
"[Players] have been told to be on their toes," Sandberg said. "Part of managing, to me, is having a gut feeling of being able to give the sign and to [signal] 'Let's do it.'
"Everybody has to be onboard with that, the baserunners and the hitters, paying attention. 'Pay attention to the signs and don't be surprised,' that's what the players have been told. That's a priority, to not have missed signs. When guys start to ... think about scenarios, you can grow. The more you do it, it gets their attention and makes them anticipate."
Sandberg says player interaction key to late wins
PHILADELPHIA -- Having been a part of none of the three consecutive walk-off plays that gave Philadelphia a 5-3 record since he was named interim manager, Ryne Sandberg is taking no credit.
Rather than talk about himself, Sandberg would rather speak about how his players talk.
"I think it's an attitude," Sandberg said. "I think those things start with energy, guys being vocal on the bench. Those are components of being in the game.
"That is what has been happening throughout the games, and it gradually builds through late-inning wins. It seems to carry over day to day."
Friday's walk-off win marked only the second time in 20 years -- the other being July 8-10, 2010, vs. the Reds -- that the Phillies won three consecutive games in their final at-bat. They never have had four such victories in a row.
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.