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PHILADELPHIA — This season isn’t Kyle Schwarber’s first experience as a designated hitter, though he might be a little surprised at the way his DH role has essentially turned into an every day assignment.

With the revelation of newly promoted Johan Rojas’ glove work late last season, and to a lesser degree the acquisition of Cristian Pache, Schwarber’s presence in left field became increasingly unnecessary. Brandon Marsh, formerly the center fielder, was going to be free to move to left for this season, provided he earned it offensively and provided Rojas and Pache came north with the club out of spring training. Moreover, Bryce Harper’s affinity for first base, with injured Rhys Hoskins expected to sign a free agent deal, freed up the DH role, with Schwarber a natural for that job.

He’d been a DH, mostly during intra-squad games or during a short stint with the Red Sox in 2021. He DH’d 14 times that year, 15 the season after for the Phillies. But last season that DH role with the Phils numbered 57 games, as Marsh moved over for Rojas and Harper moving into Hoskins’ vacated chair at first base.

With this season barely a quarter completed, Schwarber started his 40th game at DH Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park. And despite the speculation of him occasionally spelling somebody in the outfield, he’s only had one game in left field in 2024, and one other in which he made a pinch-hitting appearance.

“The more reps you get at it gives you the better feel at it,” said Schwarber, who entered this game against the Mets hitting .218 with nine homers and 25 RBIs. “For me, I’ve done it before, so I kind of had an idea what I wanted to do. But there’s some things you fine-tune … try not to take too many swings and things like that.”

Graduated out, Schwarber’s quarter-season as a DH essentially matches up with his previous two Phillies seasons. Though his batting average definitely is a tick up over the below-.200 he struggled at early in each of the two previous seasons, he ended them .218 in 2022 and .197 in 2023. He also had 46 homers in 2022 and 47 in 2023, so his current nine is a bit off that pace, but that’s with the understanding that Schwarber’s bat tends to heat up as the weather does.

The thought that perhaps his streakiness might level into a more consistent approach as a DH? That remains to be seen. Either way, Schwarber will do what he feels the team needs him to do … even if he does miss the full-time gig a little bit.

“I enjoy playing a position, I enjoy playing the field,” Schwarber said. “But for me, it’s more about being able to stay ready for the guys so I can give them a day off and let them DH or something like that.

“Do I wish I was playing a position? There’s days that I do and there’s days that I don’t. I think it’s just the baseball player in you; you play a position your whole life and then to get that taken away a little bit … it’s not a negative thing by any means, I think it’s just the baseball player in you.”

Schwarber says he usually is in the dugout preparing himself for a next at bat about five hitters before his scheduled turn in the order. Other than that, he can be found pacing in the tunnel and dugout or taking swings in the batting cage near the clubhouse.

“But you know what? You do kind of miss playing the field,” Schwarber said. “For me now, it kind of gives me anxiety for some reason, sitting down watching the game on defense. I’m thinking, ‘Man, I don’t have any kind of hand in it.’

“You don’t think you have a hand in it, right? That’s anything; that’s if you get taken out of the game or you get pinch-run for … I’m sitting down there and I’m nervous and I think, ‘Hey, there’s nothing you can do anymore.’

“But you look forward to that next at bat.”

• • •

Trea Turner, placed on the 10-day injured list on May 4 and saying he was expected to miss at least six weeks, seems to be rapidly making progress. According to manager Rob Thomson, Turner was a busy guy prior to the game Wednesday.

“He’s coming along fine,” Thomson said. “He took ground balls today, he’s going to hit in the cages … run, (a) throwing program. Yeah, he’s coming along good.”

• • •

You know it’s getting close to June when a reporter with a distinctively British accent shows up in the dugout Wednesday and asks Canadian subject Thomson a pointed logistical question … what’s it going to be like going to London?

The Phillies and Mets will be there for two games on June 8 and June 9, what?

“I think everybody’s excited to go,” Thomson said. “We have some games to take care of first, but I think this is going to be unique and it’s going to be a great experience for everybody.”

Yeah, but the food…

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