Nix at first shows Manuel will mix and match

Nix at first shows Manuel will mix and match

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel continues to offer up a minor surprise or two with his lineup.

He started John Mayberry Jr. in left field and Ty Wigginton at first base in Thursday's season opener after he seemed to be leaning toward playing Juan Pierre in left field. Then on Saturday, he played Laynce Nix at first base.

Nix had started just six career games at first base.

Manuel said he had Nix hit fifth, because he wanted to split up the right-handed-hitting Hunter Pence and Mayberry against Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens. Manuel also wanted to keep Mayberry, who is an option at first base, in left field.

Asked if he thought about playing Jim Thome at first base, Manuel said, "Yeah, I thought about playing Thome. I think about him every day. I'll play Thome when I want to."

It would not be a surprise to see Thome starting at first base in Monday's home opener.