SAN FRANCISCO -- John Mayberry Jr. could have been considered the Phillies lineup's X factor entering the season.
If he played like he played in the second half last season, the Phillies could better handle the absences of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley because of his power potential. But if Mayberry struggled, it would create another sizable void.
Mayberry, who did not start Wednesday for the third time in four games, is struggling. He is hitting .176 since Opening Day with no extra-base hits.
"I'm not down on John and I don't want him to get down on himself," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before Wednesday's game. "He'll get every chance in the world to get his swing. We've played 11 games.
"He might get in tonight and pinch-hit and just take off and start tearing it up. That's baseball. That's the part you've got to live with. When you start hitting the ball hard, you see it yourself. It starts coming off your bat, and you feel good, and you'll get to play. He'll get to play. He'll get a chance to get going. But he'll play more if he starts hitting like he did in the second half of the season last year. That's kind of where it's at. I didn't give up on him. When I see you do something, I know you can do it and I stay with you. I know it's there and we'll eventually get it back out of you. But our main priority is to win tonight's game. I don't care who plays as long as we win tonight's game."