His chances to make the Phillies’ Opening Day roster improved Friday when the Phillies optioned outfielder Darin Ruf to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The move left five healthy outfielders in camp: Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix and Inciarte. The Phillies could make a trade or claim an outfielder off waivers before the season starts April 1 in Atlanta. They also could open the season with just four outfielders and three utility infielders with Freddy Galvis, Kevin Frandsen and Yuniesky Betancourt, although Ruben Amaro Jr. said that is unlikely. But if the Phillies can’t find a better outfielder elsewhere they could stick with Inciarte, 22, whom they drafted in December in the Rule 5 Draft.
“I’m thinking about it a lot and sometimes I feel anxious,” Inciarte said this morning at Bright House Field. “I want to know where I’m going to be this year. I’m kind of waiting for that day to know that answer.”
Inciarte, who has never played above Class A in the Minor Leagues, is hitting .238 (5-for-21) with one double, three walks and six strikeouts this spring. But the Phillies would not be keeping him for his bat. They would be keeping him for his defense and speed. He has been impressive in the outfield, showing good range and a strong arm. And with Delmon Young possibly back before May 1, it might not make sense to trade for another outfielder when there might not be a place for him in a month.
“I’m working hard,” Inciarte said. “I might have a chance, but they are the ones that make the decision. Right now, I don’t know. I don’t know where I’m going to be, but I’m going to keep working hard until the end. I’m happy overall. I think I’ve been showing my tools. I’ve just got to keep developing a lot of stuff because I’m still young and I feel like I can give a lot to this game.”