Notes: Werth showing his worth

Notes: Werth showing his worth

PHILADELPHIA -- It's always easy to tell who's sitting on the days Jayson Werth starts.

Just check to see where he hits in the lineup. If he's hitting second, as he did in Saturday's 5-2 win, it's for Shane Victorino. If it's fifth, then Pat Burrell gets the day off.

"I'm interchangeable in that regard," he said. "I just go in the appropriate place in the lineup."

Werth played those two days because a lefty started, and Werth is batting .357 vs. southpaws. Victorino is hitting .236 vs. lefties and Burrell is at .167.

"Guys are really stepping up and picking me up," Burrell said. "You do what you can to help the team win. The results for me aren't there."

Since ending April at .292, Burrell has hit .171, dragging his average to .225. Manager Charlie Manuel has been peppered with questions about why Burrell's still hitting fifth, and decided a day off altogether would do him good.

Burrell said his right foot is fine, and figures the hits will eventually come. He's still walking, but that's not enough. His respectable .388 on-base percentage can't overcome a .388 slugging percentage.

"It's frustrating, but the only thing to is to keep going out there," he said. "If you're not getting hits, there's always a problem."

One Burrell still needs to figure out.

Myers yet to throw: Closer Brett Myers spends time these days with a clipboard and a Sudoku puzzle, as he awaits the day when he'll throw a baseball.

"I don't know," he said, regarding when he might resume baseball activities.

The much is true, according to Manuel: Myers won't be ready by June 9, when he's eligible to come off the disabled list.

"He won't make that," Manuel said.

Once Myers resumes throwing, it will be at least 10-15 days before he can realistically return. The timetable is in line with the original diagnosis, which had him out for at least three weeks.

"I don't think we're overcautious or overaggressive," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "I think we're being wise. We're pretty much right on schedule from when people thought he might be throwing."

Oh yeah: Barry Bonds, who plays his final regular-season game at Citizens Bank Park -- at least for 2007 -- is eventually going to pass Hank Aaron as Major League Baseball's home run king.

This much we know. In Manuel's mind, there's one home run champion who gets little mention: Sadaharu Oh, of the Yomiuri Giants. The legendary Japanese superstar pounded 868 home runs in a 22-year career from 1959-1980, and holds the professional record in that capacity.


Oh led his league in homers 15 times and RBIs 13 times. He also won five batting titles and the Japanese Central League's batting triple crown twice. His title as "Home Run King" is debated, because Japan League fields are shorter than Major League fields.

Manuel remembers a night when he nearly robbed Oh of his 756th, the one that moved him past Aaron. Playing for the Yakult Swallows on Sept. 3, 1977, Manuel said he had it.

"I had it in my glove," Manuel said. "But the fans pulled it over the fence for a home run."

If Oh, who averaged 40 home runs a season in Japan, played in the U.S., how many would he hit?

"I know he would hit .300," Manuel said, "and I know he would hit 30 homers. If he played 10 years, he'd hit 300. If he played 20 years, he might hit 600. He was a pull hitter. He wasn't a good runner, but he was a very good baseball player."

Quotable: "Everybody's question is always, 'Is this disappointing or frustrating?' It's tough to be a game under. 500 in early June. We haven't played to our capability. At some point, hopefully we will. We're still eight games out, and the bright side is, we still haven't played our best ball. Hopefully we can keep ourselves in striking range. That's the only way we can look at it. We swept the Braves, then came home and it was inconsistent play. Now we have to go to New York and we have to step up our game." -- Ryan Howard

Philling in: Ryan Howard and Michael Bourn exchanged in a spirited discussion as to who will win the NBA Finals, which begin Thursday night. Bourn believes LeBron James will lead the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Howard is sticking with the heavily-favored San Antonio Spurs -- despite his support of fellow St. Louis native Larry Hughes, who plays for Cleveland.

Up next: Jamie Moyer (5-4, 4.23 ERA) will face Mets lefty Tom Glavine (5-3, 3.44 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series at Shea Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.