PHILADELPHIA -- Outfielder Roger Bernadina hopes to take advantage of the opportunity he is getting from the Phillies.
He got his first real chance on Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park, where he started in center field against the Rockies. Bernadina signed with the Phillies on Wednesday after being released by the Nationals on Monday. He hit just .178 with a .517 OPS in 167 plate appearances with Washington after hitting .291 with a .777 OPS in 261 plate appearances last season.
"[The Phillies] showed all the interest for having me," Bernadina said. "And I've always like the Phillies' ballpark. I didn't have to think too much about it. I told my agent, 'I want to be a Phillie.' I'm excited about it."
Bernadina flied out in a pinch-hitting opportunity on Wednesday, but something about it impressed interim manager Ryne Sandberg.
"He opened up my eyes running to first base last night on a routine fly ball, the way he got around first base," Sandberg said. "I mean, he was moving pretty good. So, I'm anxious to see him in the outfield, see his arm, see his reads, and his at-bats and everything."
Bernadina is making $1.2125 million this season. He is eligible for salary arbitration in the offseason, which means the Phillies have a decision to make with nine players eligible for salary arbitration and the potential for 11.
Left-handers John Lannan and Antonio Bastardo ; right-handers Kyle Kendrick and Zach Miner ; infielder Kevin Frandsen ; and outfielders Ben Revere, John Mayberry Jr., Casper Wells and Bernadina are eligible. There is a chance right-hander Mike Stutes and left-hander Raul Valdes could qualify as Super Two players, which also would make them arbitration-eligible.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less