When Will Corey Dickerson Be Ready to Start for Phillies? What Happens When Jay Bruce Returns?

Corey Dickerson finally made his way to Philadelphia. He was moving fast on Friday afternoon, unpacking his bags and heading to the dugout to meet with reporters before his first batting practice session with his new team.

Dickerson was not in Friday's lineup but could start for the Phillies as soon as Saturday. The minor groin injury he was dealing with is nearly healed.

"It's getting the point where I'm pretty much good to go," Dickerson said. "I just want to be safe and make sure I have no setbacks. I want to be able to play every day and play the way I know how to play, play hard. I don't want to worry about missing a few days, so I'm trying to knock it out right now."

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Phillies manager Gabe Kapler plans to start Dickerson nearly every night against a right-handed starting pitcher. It remains to be seen what happens against lefties. Dickerson has significant platoon splits. He is a .290 career hitter with an .865 OPS against righties and a .270 career hitter with a .708 OPS against lefties.

Dickerson will make the Phillies' offense better and he can hit in a variety of spots. He could step into the leadoff spot, where the Phillies have received almost no production since Andrew McCutchen went down. The leadoff spot in the Phillies' order has produced a .194/.272/.320 slash line since McCutchen's injury. That batting average ranks dead-last in the majors, the OBP and slugging percentage second-to-last.

Dickerson could also serve as protection for Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins in the 5-spot or hit sixth behind J.T. Realmuto. He has a versatile offensive package. Dickerson can hit for average, hit for power and run well.

What happens when Bruce returns?

It will be interesting to see how Kapler manages the playing time of his outfielders once Jay Bruce returns. That could be as soon as next week.

Utilityman Brad Miller, another left-handed hitter, is also close to returning. 

When everyone is back, the Phillies will skew left-handed with Dickerson, Bruce, Miller and Adam Haseley. They will almost have to turn to a five-man bench unless someone else is injured. Kapler mentioned last week that the Phils could soon utilize a five-man bench, which they have not done the last two seasons before September.

Even if the Phillies do turn to a five-man bench to make room for Bruce and Miller, it will mean losing at least one of Maikel Franco, Roman Quinn and Sean Rodriguez. Quinn and Rodriguez are out of options and would need to be designated for assignment before being sent to Triple A.

These situations have a way of working themselves out but the Phillies could soon face a roster crunch. It's a good problem to have, and a bench including Bruce, Miller and Franco would be the best the Phillies have had all season.

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