Her­nan­dez has to work on thiev­ery skills

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaf­fery jm­c­caf­fery @21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Pete Mack­anin tried this sea­son to al­low the or­ganic de­vel­op­ment of Ce­sar Her­nan­dez as a bases­tealer.

Next sea­son, the Phillies’ man­ager will take more con­trol.

Ex­as­per­ated that the speedy Her­nan­dez had been caught steal­ing 13 times in 30 at­tempts, Mack­anin in­di­cated Wed­nes­day that he will change his pol­icy with his sec­ond base­man.

“What it boils down to is we learned we can’t give Ce­sar the green light,” he said be­fore an 8-3 vic­tory over the Chicago White Sox. “We can do it only in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions.”

After Her­nan­dez stole 19 bases and was caught five times last sea­son, Mack­anin ef­fec­tively ap­proved him to steal when­ever he felt com­fort­able. But Her­nan­dez has been caught steal­ing 13 times and had just 17 stolen bases.

“He’s got a green light,” Mack­anin said. “And it hasn’t been real good for him this year. He was bet­ter last year. It’s just a mat­ter of not get­ting good jumps.

“That’s a shame, as fast as he is. Some guys are good at it and oth­ers aren’t. Peter Bour­jos has got plus speed and he has never been a real elite base-stealer. You’d think he would with his speed. But there’s a knack to it. I’m go­ing to have to pick pitches for him.”

Mack­anin has ex­er­cised his author­ity to freeze Her­nan­dez at times. For in­stance, if a pitcher has a par­tic­u­larly quick de­liv­ery, the man­ager will sig­nal third-base coach Juan Sa­muel, who will re­move Her­nan­dez’s green light. That helped some. But not enough.

Every in­di­ca­tion is that Her­nan­dez, who has a 26-game on-base streak, will be the lead­off hit­ter in 2017. His speed is one rea­son. It just will be used dif­fer­ently.

“He’s just made a lot of bad choices,” Mack­anin said. “But he just doesn’t get the jump that you need to get. There’s like a lit­tle lean. There’s a knack to it.”

••• Not that he won’t use him in any more save sit­u­a­tions, but Mack­anin is re­lax­ing his com­mit­ment to closer Jean­mar Gomez.

“I know he hasn’t pitched well for over a month now,” the man­ager said. “But what has he blown, five saves? That’s 37 out of 42, which is pretty good. But maybe he is run­ning out of gas. I still see ve­loc­ity and I still see stuff. But he is miss­ing lo­ca­tion. He’s up in the zone more which may in­di­cate that he is get­ting tired.”

The Phillies did not face a save sit­u­a­tion Wed­nes­day, but David Her­nan­dez en­tered with an 8-3 lead and pitched a score­less ninth.

Mack­anin does not know whether Gomez will be his closer next sea­son, but would like to give him some more chances this year.

“I don’t want him to fin­ish the sea­son on a sour note,” the man­ager said. “I’d like him to fin­ish on a pos­i­tive note. That’s go­ing to en­ter my de­ci­sion on that.”

••• Tommy Joseph hit his 21st home run, match­ing Scott Rolen’s Rookie of the Year out­put of 1997.

“Scott?” Joseph said. “That’s a pretty good guy to tie.”

He is one short of Ryan Howard’s 2005 rookie pro­duc­tion of 22 home runs.

“Elite com­pany, huh?” he said, smil­ing.

••• Jerad Eick­hoff, 2-8 at one point this sea­son, im­proved to 11-14, strik­ing out six and walk­ing one in seven in­nings. He al­lowed three solo home runs, though two landed just over Cit­i­zens Bank Park’s shal­low left field fence. It was his sixth con­sec­u­tive “qual­ity start.”

Eick­hoff has pitched 187.1 in­nings, giv­ing him­self a shot at 200 for the sea­son.

“I think that would be a pretty cool bench­mark to get to, be­ing this is my first full year,” he said. “I try to think as day-by­day as I can and con­trol what I can con­trol pitch to pitch.”

••• NOTES >> The Phillies will open a four-game se­ries against the Mets Thurs­day night (7:10) at Ci­tiField. Adam Mor­gan (2-10, 5.49 ERA) will face right-han­der Seth Lugo (4-2, 2.35). … Jeremy Hel­lick­son, Alec Asher and Jake Thomp­son will pitch for the Phils over the week­end. … The Phils fin­ished their sea­son at 11-9 in in­ter-league games.

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