Herrera returns to the field for the Phillies, though questions remain

Odubel Herrera makes Phillies spring debut
Nearly two years removed from an arrest for domestic violence, Odubel Herrera believes he's now a better person. He saw his first action with the Phillies since May of 2019 on Tuesday, playing right field. 

"I learned a lot the past two years," Herrera said. "I feel mature. I have changed a lot. I feel I am a better person now." 

Herrera finished the day 1-for-3 with a single and stolen base in a 4-2 loss to Toronto. Herrera, 29, was an All-Star in his second season in the majors in 2016 when he hit .286 with 15 homers, 49 RBIs, 25 stolen bases, and posted a .361 on-base percentage. He's a non-roster invitee but could be in the mix for a bench spot. He's set to earn $10 million in 2021 in the final season of a $30.5 million, five-year contract. 

"He’s also trying to earn the respect of a lot of people back, because obviously, it took a hit when the domestic violence came out," manager Joe Girardi said two weeks ago when the club announced Herrera was coming to camp. "So to me, it’s important that he proves himself to everyone. And he’s been afforded that chance because of the collective bargaining agreement."

Wheeler looks sharp 
Zack Wheeler tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut. He walked a pair and picked up two strikeouts. The 30-year-old righty finished 4-2 last season with a 2.92 ERA over 11 starts. 

Open the park 
The City of Philadelphia has rolled back some COVID restrictions, allowing the Phillies and Citizens Bank Park to host fans this season. The capacity limit is set at 20%, meaning 8,800 fans can enter the ballpark. Tickets to the first 19 regular-season games will be offered initially to season-ticket holders. The public will have the opportunity to purchase tickets beginning March 12 at Phillies.com. 

What's next 
The Phillies will travel to Lakeland, Fla. to face the Tigers on Wednesday. Zach Eflin is scheduled to start.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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