CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman stepped to the plate Wednesday, and the Phillies stepped to the right side of the infield.
Philadelphia employed a defensive shift, which has been a rarity for the club in the past. According to Baseball Info Solutions, the Phillies shifted just 45 times last season, ranking 29th in baseball. More and more teams recognize the value of a defensive shift, which is why manager Ryne Sandberg said the Phillies will shift more in 2014.
"We're going to play with it a little bit," Sandberg said after Wednesday's 2-2 tie with the Braves at Bright House Field. "Once we get our charts and everything, [we'll] make a decision. Sometimes it may be dependent on the game."
Sandberg said the Phillies discussed using the shift more during the offseason. The Phillies will use video and spray charts on hitters, which show where they hit the ball against right-handed and left-handed pitchers. They also have charts on their own pitchers, which will tell them where hitters seem to hit the ball when they are on the mound.
"The option will also be provided to the starting pitcher, that type of a situation, according to how they're going to pitch," Sandberg said. "So it will be coordinated. … We'll be smart with it and do what makes sense. It's something that's grown and the information is there. Teams have had some success doing that, so that's something to think about and apply."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.