Why Johan Rojas was sent down to minor leagues and what Phillies need to see from him – NBC Sports Philadelphia

There were several layers to the Phillies’ decision Monday afternoon with Johan Rojas, who was optioned to Triple-A to make room on the active roster for a return of Trea Turner.

This was partly due to a roster crisis. Rojas still had options in the minor leagues, unlike Cristian Pache and David Dahl. If the Phillies had tried to send Pache or Dahl to the minor leagues, they would have had to get them through waivers first and there’s a good chance either player would have been claimed.

The other piece is Rojas’ offensive approach and production. The Phillies want him to shorten his swing, use the pitch more and improve his bunt. They’ve been waiting for this development from him since spring training, but it hasn’t come.

“Those are the things we need because I think if he does what he can do on offense — which is just being a table setter, having good hitters, being able to move the ball, moving runners – with him playing center field, that’s probably the best version of our club,” manager Rob Thomson said.

“He’s taken it very well, very professionally. I think he’s going to go in there and work on it. It’s a good opportunity for Ro to develop a little bit. Reset yourself a little bit, be able to relax and do the things we ask him to do.

Thomson reiterated that he believes the best version of the Phillies’ lineup is Rojas’s in center field, where he showed last summer the kind of impact he can have defensively. He hasn’t been as valuable in the field or on the basepaths as he was last summer, when he probably played over his head. He has been taken off three times this season and has made more physical and mental errors at center than in the 59 league games he has played in 2023.

“Focus on reading pitchers, studying pitchers, their tendencies, their times at the plate, good secondary leads,” Thomson said. “But the main thing is probably on the offensive side.”

Without Rojas, the Phillies will optimize for more offense in the outfield. Brandon Marsh will man the center field with Pache and Whit Merrifield will share left field with Dahl.

“We still want Marsh to bat against left-handed pitchers, we’ll try to pick and choose,” Thomson said. “But for the most part, I think we’ll put him in a platoon.”

Edmundo Sosa also started work in left field Monday before Game 1 of the Phillies’ series against the Padres. If Sosa takes the job — his hands, defensive skills and instincts indicate he will — he could become another option alongside Merrifield against left-handed pitchers.

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