Versatile Sweeney set to show Phillies his skill-set

Versatile Sweeney set to show Phillies his skill-set

MIAMI -- Darnell Sweeney believes his best asset his versatility, and the Phillies are ready to test it throughout the remainder of the 2015 season.

"They just said be ready to get my name called," Sweeney, the Phillies' No. 11 prospect according to, said prior to Friday's 7-1 win over the Marlins. "Wherever it is, I'll be ready to put my best foot forward."

Sweeney, 24, was just acquired from the Dodgers on Wednesday in exchange for Chase Ultey. He made his Major League and Phillies debut in Thursday's 9-7 loss, pinch-hitting in the fifth inning and popping out to second base. On Friday, he struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance in the eighth inning. However, he's still waiting to play his first big league inning in the field -- although there's no telling what position.

A 13th-round pick of the Dodgers in the 2012 Draft, Sweeney came up through the organization as a middle infielder before he began playing center field in Double-A. This season for Triple-A Oklahoma City, he made 45 appearances at second base, 43 in center field, 19 in left field and four at third base.

On Friday afternoon, Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said Sweeney worked out at second and third base, but not center field, which Sweeney said he thinks can be his best position in the long run. Actually, Mackanin said on Thursday that the prospect may get his most looks at third base with Maikel Franco possibly out for the season, although Sweeney told him third is his least favorite position.

"He looked good," Mackanin said. "We liked the way he looked at second base. It looked like he could play some third base. I haven't seen him in the outfield, but he has pretty good actions. I'll get him in the game here sooner or later."

Sweeney said he's up to the challenge of third base if called upon.

"I like the new challenge and the fact that my athleticism can take over and just make the play, get it done," he said. "That's the bottom line when it comes down to it -- just catch the ball and throw a strike and do what you gotta do."

Sweeney's versatility isn't just limited to the field, as he's also a switch-hitter. In 116 games for Oklahoma City prior to the trade, he hit. 271 with nine homers and 32 steals.

"I think versatility is my best aspect," he said. "I can play multiple positions, I'm a switch-hitter, I can hit for average and occasionally I could put one out of the park. So I can do a little bit of everything."

While Sweeney is anxious to display his wide skill-set, Mackanin indicated that he may ease him into action with so many young players on the roster. Still, the new Phillie was happy to make his debut in a familiar spot.

Drafted out of the University of Central Florida, Sweeney grew up as a Marlins fan approximately 20 minutes from Marlins Park, which allowed 15 friends and family members -- including his parents, wife and brother -- to be in attendance on Thursday.

"Utley is a multiple All-Star -- and the fact that they thought I was a pretty good value to the Utley trade -- that brings a little weight to the whole situation," Sweeney said. "I'm definitely blessed and pretty pumped that it actually happened."

Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.