CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Here are the facts, and nothing but: After getting off to a slow start last season, center fielder Ben Revere got hot. From May 19 through July 13, he batted .345 with a .371 on base percentage from the leadoff spot. The Phillies had a winning record (26-25) in that stretch.
Then Revere fouled a ball off his right foot. He underwent surgery to repair the fracture and missed the rest of the season. The Phillies went 27-41 in his absence.
Baseball is a team game. And there are multiple reasons why the Phillies faded in the second half. But clearly, it helps any team to have its leadoff hitter getting on base.
"His offense came along as he adapted to the National League," said manager Ryne Sandberg. "The best baseball we played was last year when he got hot. We got back to .500 at the All-Star break and he was in the middle of all that, hitting the ball well and creating some havoc on the basepaths. Getting two or three hits a game, stealing bases and scoring runs, really creating a spark."
Sandberg noted that Revere was missed defensively as well.
"He was coming along very well, showing improvement out there. I think it took him a while to get used to the home ball park and the National League as far as playing defense," Sandberg said. "He's working on getting really good at charging the ball. He's also really good at having a good release to hold the baserunners. And I've seen some improvement in his arm out there."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.