Phils rest regulars, give backups a shot

Phils rest regulars, give backups a shot

PHILADELPHIA -- The plastic sheets that had covered the Phillies' dressing stalls Saturday night were removed by Sunday morning.

Leather chairs and wooden tables, pushed aside for Saturday's National League East-clinching celebration, had found their way back to their normal spot in the middle of the Phillies' clubhouse. Even the red and blue carpet was dry, showing little evidence of the gallons of champagne and beer that had been sprayed and spilled the night before.

Life was returning to normal for the Phillies, one day after sealing their second consecutive NL East title with a 4-3 win over the Nationals.

Clinching with one game left on the schedule gave manager Charlie Manuel a chance to rest some of his starters.

"Do you have a first baseman's mitt?" reliever Clay Condrey jokingly asked Chris Coste, who found himself filling in for Ryan Howard on Sunday.

Coste nodded and smiled.

"It's in your bag," Coste replied.

The backup catcher doesn't mind shifting from behind the plate to first base, because he has experience playing first and third during his professional career. Plus, Manuel wanted to give 22-year-old Lou Marson a chance to make his first Major League start behind the plate Sunday.

Marson hadn't appeared in a game for the Phillies since being called up Sept. 1, but he turned heads as a prospect this summer. He was at Yankee Stadium during All-Star week and played in the XM All-Star Futures Game, an annual contest featuring the game's best prospects. A month later, he caught five games for the bronze medal-winning U.S. Olympic team in Beijing.

At Double-A Reading this year, Marson evolved into the organization's top catching prospect. An Eastern League All-Star, Marson batted .314 with five home runs.

Marson, who collected his first Major League hit Sunday -- a fourth-inning single in his second career at-bat -- batted eighth, one spot behind fellow prospect Greg Golson. Golson, whose speed on the basepaths turned heads when he scored the go-ahead run in Monday's game against the Braves, also made his first Major League start Sunday.

Golson filled in for Shane Victorino in center field. Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, Pat Burrell and Jimmy Rollins were also not in the starting lineup.

"I like my bench," Manuel said.

Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.