Odubel Herrera

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Kapler: We don't have an every day center fielder

Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team
May 23, 2019 - 9:43 am

Scott Kingery has gotten the start in center field for the Phillies in each of the last two games, a job that was Odubel Herrera's to start the season. 

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But Herrera has struggled and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler now admits there's a competition for the team's starting center fielder role. 

"I acknowledge that he hasn't been the player that he can be," Kapler told Angelo Cataldi of Herrera on Thursday's 94WIP Monring Show. "He hasn't been the hitter in the box that we know he can be. It's a little early to kind of start taking him out of that position completely, but certainly it's a competition out there. I said that in Spring Training, the guy who gives us the best opportunity to win every night at that position, will play.

"I'm not making any long-term declarations of who the every day center fielder is going to be because, we don't have one right now."

Herrera is hitting just .157/.232/.294 over his last 56 plate appearances and 13 starts. Over the last 365 days, Herrera is hitting only .215 with 16 home runs and 56 RBI. Herrera has started 29 of the Phillies' 49 games this season. 

The 27-year-old signed a 5-year, $30.5 million contract extension in 2016 with the Phils. Herrera is due $7 million in 2020 and $10 million in 2021, before clup options kick in for 2022 and 2023. 

Kingery is hitting .349 this season, albeit in just 47 plate appearances. Kingery has just three hits in his last 18 at-bats. 

Kapler says you can expect Herrera to be back in the lineup on Thursday against lefty Jon Lester and the Cubs (2:20 pm on 94WIP). Herrera is hitting .273 off of LHP and just .207 off of RHP this season.