Ruben Amaro Jr.'s prescription for the Phillies' offense is simple.

"Hits," the general manager said after his team improved to 15-6 despite riding a 13-game stretch in which they have failed to score more than four runs in any game.

And he is confident that manager Charlie Manuel has enough quality personnel to make those hits appear?

"Yes," he said.

One player with the ability to show Amaro's faith to be well-placed is Raul Ibanez, who spent yesterday working out in the batting cage while trying to shake a funk that has seen him hit .187 with a .265 on-base percentage and .253 slugging percentage in his first 20 games.

Last year, Manuel's patience with Ibanez was rewarded when the 38-year-old leftfielder rebounded from a disappointing first half to hit .303 with an .853 OPS, 10 home runs and 47 RBI over the last 3 months of the regular season.

So there is no reason to think that his decision to start John Mayberry Jr. against Padres lefthander Wade LeBlanc was anything other than a routine break for a struggling player. But if the Phillies are going to break free of their offensive slump, they are going to need more production behind Ryan Howard. And if that means more starts for Mayberry, who contributed an RBI double in the sixth inning yesterday, against lefthanded pitching, Manuel says he will have to consider it.

"Any time you hit, you can earn more time," the manager said.