I just finished watching the replay on Milb-TV of the fourth inning collision of Tyson Gillies and Jiwan James in right center field Saturday night in Harrisburg. Each of them were running at full speed trying to run down the long fly ball off the bat of Senator’s Chris Rahl. Out on nowhere comes James from right-field colliding with Gillies just as Tyson makes the catch. They both go to the ground and the umpire rules that Gillies held on to the ball for the out. After a several minute delay Gillies left the field with the trainer under his own power but newspaper reports said that he went to the local hospital for wrist x-rays. The reports indicate that Gillies suffered a wrist contusion and did not play in Sunday’s game.
Is it wise to have two extremely fast, natural center fielders in the line up in the same outfield? Could the Reading Phillies simply have too much speed in the outfield at the same time?
I will never forget of the first time I ever saw Gillies play center was on Schmidt Field in his first spring training with the Phillies organization. Domonic Brown was just sent down from the major league camp and was in right field. A high fly ball was hit to what I thought was straight away right field but it was a typically windy March day. Out of nowhere comes Gillies from center to make the catch in front of Brown who was more or less just standing in his right field position. Brown, as most right fielder are taught, just gave way to the on coming center fielder. Gillies momentum carried him all the way to the right field foul line before he came to a stop.
It is nice to have outfielders able to play all three positions but it does have its risks as we saw Saturday night with Gillies and James who are natural center fielders in the game at the same time. The lastest reports are that the Phillies minor league department now wants Domonic Brown to play center field. He was in center in Saturday night’s Lehigh Valley game in Charlotte N.C. This comes after we were told that he was being sent down to be the Phillies left fielder of the future at the end of spring training but I guess no more. Also last week career first baseman Darin Ruf played in left field for a game with Reading. In the Saturday night’s game he was back at first base. What is he, a first baseman or a left fielder? The reports said the Phillies did this to give them more options for the hot hitting Ruf.
It’s nice to keep moving guys around to all these different positions but they are not Freddy Galvis. Galvis was in the Phillies system for many years coming up from Venezuela but he never played any other position but shortstop in the Phillies system. He has made the more to second and has played it at an All-Star caliber at the major league level . But Freddy is one of a kind. It is not easy simply plugging guys into different positions every week just to say they have game experience at those positions. Someone might get hurt.
Let’s hope Tyson was not seriously injured. He was having a break out week. In his last seven games including going one for one Saturday night before he was injured, he was 13 for 25 with eight runs scored, three triples and a home run. Maybe it is not a good idea to have two exceptionally fast, natural center fielders in the same outfield at the same time. They just might have too much speed to play safely next to each other. Coming into this season, according to Baseball Reference, Gillies had played 231 games in center and James had played 294 but only 25 games in right.