Ben Francisco tends to speak more with his bat than his tongue. That’s the way Charlie Manuel likes it. The successor to Jayson Werth is quiet and soft-spoken on the field.
However, the 29-year-old made considerable noise at the plate this spring as he won the starting right-field job.
Not only does Francisco lead the Phillies with a .377 batting average and .456 on-base percentage in spring training, he hit the ball with authority throughout his audition.
“I like the way he hits,” Manuel said. “He hits the ball hard. He looks good.”
Francisco makes real contact, which wouldn’t hurt the Phillies’ free-swinging lineup.
“I try to put the bat on the ball,” Francisco said. “I try to hit it hard somewhere.”
Francisco’s old buddy Werth — the pair still texts regularly — wishes his former teammate luck.
“He hopes for the best for me,” Francisco said. “I learned a lot from talking with Jayson and watching him play when he was here. We became very good friends. He told me to be patient and when there is an opportunity to take advantage of that. That’s what I’m doing.”