John Mayberry Jr. likely starting in left field for Game 3 of NLDS

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According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel confirmed that John Mayberry Jr. will likely start in left field for Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cardinals tomorrow, leaving Raul Ibanez on the bench.

This isn’t a huge surprise given that the Phillies will be facing left-hander Jaime Garcia. Mayberry batted .306/.358/.595 with eight homers and .953 OPS over 120 plate appearances against southpaws this season while the veteran Ibanez batted just .211/.232/.353 with four homers and a .585 OPS over 138 plate appearances.

Much has been made of Garcia’s success over a handful of appearances against the Phillies during his career, but more important may be his dramatic home-away splits. The 25-year-old left-hander has a 2.37 ERA in his career at Busch Stadium compared to a 4.28 ERA on the road.

Report: Nationals sign Joaquin Benoit to a one-year deal

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Nationals have signed reliever Joaquin Benoit to a contract. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that it’s a one-year major league deal worth $1 million.

Benoit, 40, spent last season with the Phillies and Pirates. He put up a mediocre 4.65 ERA with a 46/22 K/BB ratio across 50 1/3 innings. Only 8/13 innings came with the Pirates as he dealt with a left knee injury that kept him out of action for much of the final month and a half. He also left the team in mid-September to attend to a family matter in the Dominican Republic.

Given his age and declining performance, as well as the Nationals’ bullpen depth, Benoit doesn’t figure to pitch in many high-leverage spots, but that could change with injuries.