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Mickey Moniak ‘picks up where he left off’ in rehab assignment

Mickey Moniak is a former No. 1 overall pick. (Cheryl Pursell)

READING — Five weeks without swinging a bat was an unusual layoff for Mickey Moniak.

That sort of extended rest is typically reserved for the offseason. But after fracturing his right hand on April 6 — just two days before the start of the season — Moniak was forced to shut it down.

Now back on the field on a minor-league rehab assignment, the former No. 1 overall pick doesn’t think he’s missed a beat.

“I feel like I picked up where I left off,” Moniak said on Tuesday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium. “Hand feels great, body feels great. The last six weeks, I just used it to stay ready and make sure I was ready to go once the hand felt good.”

He started swinging again last week, then played three games over the weekend for the Low-A Clearwater Threshers. On Tuesday, Moniak’s rehab assignment moved up to Double-A Reading, and he went 2-for-5 at the plate while playing nine innings in center field in the Fightins’ 4-3 loss in 10 innings to Binghamton.

Moniak had earned a spot on the major-league roster out of spring training for the first time and appeared poised for regular playing time in center field. Then a hit-by-pitch in the final exhibition before the season derailed an otherwise ideal spring for the 24-year-old.

“This year, coming into spring training, I tried to focus on controlling what I can control,” Moniak said. “It’s obviously unfortunate that (the injury) happened. … But at the end of the day, it’s in the past. It was already done, there’s nothing I can do to fix it other than do what I could each and every day to make sure I was ready six weeks after the fact.

“I felt like I did that, and I feel like I’m back to where I was.”

Feeling healthy once again, Moniak may be on the path to earn back his spot in the majors.

The Phillies haven’t received consistent production from the players they’ve tried in center field so far this year. Opening-day starter Matt Vierling has been sent down to Triple-A, Roman Quinn has a .454 OPS and Odúbel Herrera, while settling in with a respectable .713 OPS, has had his share of ups and downs.

Deemed the best choice out of spring while Herrera was hurt, a healthy Moniak could perhaps be a boost — or at least an extra useful option — for a currently middling Phillies club. He’s scheduled to be with Reading through Thursday. Beyond that, he’s still waiting to see.

Whenever the next opportunity does come in the big leagues, Moniak is excited to bring all he can once he’s fully ready to go.

“I’m just trying to be me,” he said. “I’m trying to be Mickey Moniak. I’m trying to go out there, kind of pick up where I left off in spring training and just help the team win.”


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