WASHINGTON — Before being traded to the Phillies on July 27, Asdrubal Cabrera had not played shortstop during the 2018 season. Cabrera was in the starting lineup at short in Tuesday's game at National Park against the Washington Nationals. It was the 16th time he had played there since the trade.
Having played second base all season for the Mets, the 32-year-old Cabrera admits that he is still getting used to his old position. According to Fangraphs.com, he has minus-2 defensive runs saved at shortstop entering Tuesday.
"It is not an easy move," Cabrera said before Tuesday's game about returning to short, where he played 45 games in 2017 and 135 in 2016 with the Mets. "It takes time and I come every day, do my best, and try to get better."
Manager Gabe Kapler says he will sacrifice some defense to get Cabrera's bat in the lineup. Even though Cabrera was hitting .208, (with seven extra base hits) in his first 72 at-bats for the Phillies, his track record says he will hit. As for his defense?
"He has been a real solid defensive shortstop for us," Kapler said. "Not to say he has been especially rangy left and right but he has made all the plays we expect the shortstop to make."
Cabrera is obviously happy to be in the middle of a pennant race after playing with the scuffling Mets.
"When you come to a team fighting for first place and the playoffs, it is always good," he said.
Despite Monday's off day, catcher Wilson Ramos was out of the Phillies lineup on Tuesday. Ramos, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury when he was traded to the Phillies from Tampa Bay on July 31, has made four starts for the Phillies, including back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.
Kapler said a number of factors led to his decision.
He first noted Alfaro's history against Nationals starter Tanner Roark. While a small sample, Alfaro entered the game 5 for 7, with a double and home run against Roark.
Another factor was Ramos' health
"Ramos is coming off a long stint on the DL and we have ridden him pretty hard the last couple of days," Kapler said.
The Phillies manager also mentioned the torrential rains in the afternoon and he didn't want to risk injury with a player coming off an injury.
Phillies outfielder Roman Quinn begins each day he gets to the clubhouse the same way.
"As soon as I get to the park, I look at the lineup to know how to go about my day," said Quinn, who started in right field and batted ninth. "I have different routines whether I am starting or not."
Quinn, who entered Tuesday batting .293 in 42 plate appearances, has shown his versatility since being recalled from triple-A Lehigh Valley on July 27. Tuesday was his third game in right. He has appeared in seven games in center, one in left, one at shortstop and the infamous one game pitching.