Freddie Freeman walked to home plate Wednesday with two outs in the third inning. Reid Brignac, the Phillies third baseman, jogged to the opposite side of the field. He positioned himself between second baseman Chase Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who occupied the center of the diamond.

The Phillies employed a defensive shift, and Freeman responded by slapping a pitch to left field for a single. This was not a momentous occasion, although manager Ryne Sandberg later revealed that his team would adopt a practice common elsewhere in baseball.

"It's something that's grown, and the information is there," Sandberg said. "Teams have had some success doing that, so that's something to think about and apply."

The Phillies shifted fewer times than 28 other teams in baseball last season, according to Baseball Info Solutions data. They were the worst defensive team, as measured by the same company's metrics. They will employ three infielders 34 or older in 2014, and their range has diminished.

That prompted change.

"We are going to do more moving as far as that goes," Sandberg said. "We'll be smart with it and do what makes sense."

Sandberg will rely on data from video and spray charts. Front-office staffers will compile the numbers and present them to the on-field coaches. Bench coach Larry Bowa will oversee most of the positioning.

The shift option will be provided to the day's starting pitcher, Sandberg said, and there will be constant coordination. Positioning strategy will depend on the situation.