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Kody Clemens "barreling up everything," but is it enough to stick with Phillies when Trea Turner returns?

Philadelphia Phillies off to one of best starts in franchise history
Philadelphia Phillies off to one of best starts in franchise history 02:50

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Kody Clemens wasn't good enough to make the Opening Day roster. He's only on the Philadelphia Phillies because Trea Turner is out for several weeks with a left hamstring strain.

The way Clemens is hitting, he may be on the Phillies' roster a while longer.

The Phillies have a lot of faith in Clemens at the moment. The proof came Sunday when manager Rob Thomson didn't take him out when the Washington Nationals went to a left-handed reliever, hoping the Phillies would pull the white-hot Clemens to avoid the lefty-lefty matchup.

Clemens hit a two-run double to right field to put the Phillies ahead, capping a 4 for 7 weekend that included three extra-base hits, three runs scored and three RBIs.

"He's just barreling up everything," Thompson said. "He's seeing the ball really well. He's having really, really good at-bats. He's just been swinging the bat so well. He's swinging the bat well. He's hot. Might as well just stick with [him]."

This comes less than 24 hours after Clemens hit a game-tying home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning that sparked the Phillies in a come-from-behind victory the day prior.

Clemens has been a valuable weapon for the Phillies since he was called up on May 4, stating his case to remain on the Phillies once Turner returns.

"He has big league at-bats more and more every day," Bryce Harper said. "He goes in there, he's never overmatched. He doesn't try to do too much. Just tries to put the ball on the barrel. I think he just does a phenomenal job — even when he's not playing or starting the game — being able to kind of lock it in later in the game against some tough pitchers."

All Clemens has done this season is hit, enough that Harper said he'll "give him whatever he wants" when it comes to using his model of bats — both Clemens and Harper use the same Victus bat.

Clemens is hitting .321 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in just 28 at-bats, slugging .821 with an OPS of 1.166. Of the nine hits Clemens has, three are home runs, three are doubles and one is a triple.

For the 26th man on the roster, Clemens is making his case to stick around. Will he?

"It's tough to think about that," Clemens said. "I just try to go one day at a time and kind of just go back to believing in myself and knowing I can do this up here. I'm just trying to continue to help the team by having quality at-bats and playing good defense behind these great pitchers and just trying to pass the baton at the plate, really. I'm just trying to contribute as much as I can."

Nationals Phillies Baseball
Philadelphia Phillies' Kody Clemens, center, is doused by Bryson Stott after the Phillies won a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Philadelphia. Matt Slocum / AP

The Phillies still have a few weeks to decide what to do with Clemens, who has one minor-league option remaining. Cristian Pache and Edmundo Sosa — the other bench pieces — don't have that luxury. The Phillies aren't parting ways with Sosa and value Pache's glove and ability to be a right-handed bat off the bench.

Johan Rojas is the starting center fielder. Even with multiple options, the Phillies aren't sending him down.

The path toward Clemens sticking around might be him trading in the first baseman's mitt and infielder glove for a spot in the outfield. He'll have that glove ready if the Phillies decide to move him to the grass, even if they haven't talked to him about it yet.

"I'm gonna try to stay and do everything I can to stay," Clemens said. "It's a tough business, but when my name's called, I just have to be ready. I believe in myself and that's actually what I'm rolling with."

Clemens has a few more weeks to hit his way into a permanent roster spot for the Phillies. No matter what the Phillies decide, the decision is going to be the toughest the front office will make until they try to improve the club at the trade deadline.

Give Clemens credit for forcing the Phillies' hand.

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