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Phillies Notebook: Bryson Stott steps into old position with ease in Trea Turner’s absence

PHILADELPHIA — Bryson Stott played 83 games of his rookie season at shortstop.

So when Trea Turner on Saturday felt a pull in his left hamstring, it wasn’t long before the question was posed as to whether Stott would be Turner’s replacement for the next six or so weeks.

Manager Rob Thomson resisted that call, until Monday, when Stott had a No. 6 etched next to his name.

“I don’t want to do it regularly, just because he’s so good at second base,” Thomson made clear before a 6-1 win over San Francisco.

Stott was reared as a shortstop, as a first-round pick out of UNLV and in 141 of his 168 minor-league games. He filled a need in 2022 for the big club, covering at second only when Jean Segura was injured.

But his adaptability took on a different character after that season.

With a bumper crop of free-agent shortstops and that position the most obvious one to improve an entrenched lineup, Thomson was straightforward with Stott after the season about the organization’s plans to add a shortstop and move him to second.

Stott’s response then was a whatever-you-need assent. His reply through 2023 playing next to Turner was Gold Glove-caliber defense at second while hitting .280 with 15 homers.

Game 1 back at short Monday was business as usual for Stott. He had a diving stop in the first inning that led to a 6-4-3 double play after two of the first three batters singled. He also threw wide of first for an error in the fifth on Thairo Estrada’s grounder, leading to an unearned run, the only run allowed by Zack Wheeler.

“He looked solid, turned the double play in the first inning which was a big double play, got us out of that inning,” Thomson said. “He looked fine.”

Thomson wasn’t ready to commit to a “best lineup” without Turner yet. Edmundo Sosa, who is hitting .276 in 11 games and isn’t always a plus defender, got the first crack Sunday and has earned a longer look.

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The other moving piece in the Turner replacement committee is Whit Merrifield, who started at second.

The two-time All-Star was always seen as a quasi-everyday player, limited only in his outfield reps this year by Brandon Marsh’s emergence. This is the kind of injury for which Merrifield is such a valuable insurance policy.

Shortstop is the one position Merrifield hasn’t played in his 1,122 big league games, but Thomson said he’d want to get Merrifield some work there “just to see what it looks like.” He knows he’ll get no resistance from the 35-year-old.

“He’s a baseball player,” Thomson said. “He’ll pay anywhere. He’ll play center field, play third, probably catch for us if we asked him to. That’s who he is.”

It’s also a chance to get Merrifield going offensively. He has hits in each of his last seven games, albeit dating to April 19, going 10-for-24 (.417). He homered Saturday and drove in the first run Monday with a single in the fourth inning.

“Really good at-bats,” Thomson said. “That’s the guy that we’ve seen for many years. Good at-bats, he grinds, he uses the entire field. He can do a lot of things.”

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NOTES >> Wheeler struck out 11, his 24th career double-digit strikeout game, including 16 as a Phillie and three this year. His 1.64 ERA is the lowest for a Phillies starter over his first eight starts of a season since Roy Halladay’s 1.59 ERA in 2010. (Ranger Suarez is at 1.72 over seven starts.) … Alec Bohm saw his 18-game hitting streak end. Bohm was 0-for-4, flying out to center twice and grounding out to short in the seventh. He ended the eighth on deck. … The Phillies are 17-3 in their last 20 games, the first such stretch since Sept. 2-24, 2010. … At 25-11, the Phillies have won 25 of their first 36 games for only the third time in franchise history. They were 25-9 in 1976 and 25-10 in 1993. … The Phillies are 10-0 against the National League West this season, the only team in baseball to be unbeaten against a division over more than three games played. They have won 11 straight overall against NL West opposition, the longest streak in franchise history (previously 10, May 11-22, 1984, and Aug. 3-23, 1977). They are 23-5 against the NL West dating to May 24. … The Phillies start a mini two-game series with Toronto Tuesday. Cristopher Sanchez (1-3, 3.68 ERA) will start against Jose Berrios (4-2, 1.44) on Tuesday at 6:40. It’s Aaron Nola (4-1, 3.32) and Chris Bassitt (2-5, 5.45) for the getaway on Monday afternoon.

Source: Berkshire mont

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