Scott Kingery was as bummed out as maybe he has ever been in his life.

Everything that had gone so right for so long, quickly went horribly, horribly wrong.

He wasn’t in the major leagues any more. He was removed from the Phillies’ 40-man roster. Now he was hurt and after having shoulder surgery, found himself curled up on his couch in front of the television, unable to play the sport he loved, and pretty much riding out the time remaining on his albatross of a contract.

When the Phillies signed Kingery before he ever stepped on a major league diamond in 2018 to a 6-year, $24 million contract with three years of club options after that, there was a thought that he was going to be a huge piece to the puzzle for a long, long time.

But we all know what happened. The previous regime tried to change his swing to give him more power. They played him all over the diamond in positions he wasn’t accustomed to playing. And the glimpses of the Dustin Pedroia (who he was being compared to) that we saw during his rookie year, were immediately lost.

Continued struggles at the minor league level coupled with a shoulder injury that just wouldn’t quit, and Kingery was quickly becoming a man forgotten.

It was one of those lonely days at home when he was looking for something to watch on television that he came across a baseball game. That’s when it really set in for him. “I should be out there,” he blurted out loud, to no one in particular.

Kingery said it was at that point that his family and close friends made a huge difference in getting him back in the right mindset. Even though he wanted to get back to baseball, the fastest way to do so was to get away from it. So, they distracted him. Got him out of the house. Went on excursions that brought back that fun-loving personality he was known for previously.

He said it jump started him to have the desire to get back to being who he was before everything went wrong.

“They told me I had to just get healthy,” he said. “Focus on that and not worry about the game. Do that first and everything else would fall into place.”

He was able to get healthy enough to spend a few days with the Phillies last season. It was right after Rob Thomson took over as manager from Joe Girardi.

“I could tell right away the difference in the clubhouse,” Kingery said. “The vibe was incredible. I was like, ‘Oh, man. I want to be a part of this, again. That just lit the inner fire even more.”

Entering the final season of that six-year deal, Kingery, 29, is trying to write a fairy tale ending to his story.

Kingery is opening eyes with his play in Spring Training and has become the longshot darling to make the team. He is ensconced in a heated battle for a bench spot.

“Scotty has flattened his stroke,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “He did a lot of work with (hitting coach) Kevin Long in the offseason. We’re seeing who the guy was a few years ago. That guy is kind of special. He can play anywhere. He’s athletic. He can run, steal bases. He’s dynamic.”

It’s been on display in camp since he arrived. Everyone sees it. What started as a low rumble has grown into a cacophonous roar. Kingery could, in fact make the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

“I’m trying not to look too far ahead to think about what can happen,” Kingery said, not wanting to jinx his potential Hollywood ending. “But I can focus on what I can do to help this team, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Right now, Kingery, Kodi Clemens, Jake Cave, Darick Hall, Edmundo Sosa, Josh Harrison and, to a lesser degree Dalton Guthrie, are all challenging each other for four bench positions.

After Saturday’s 5-3 win against the New York Yankees, here’s one team leaderboard:

Kingery and Sosa each added two more hits in the game. Kingery’s were especially impressive, with two line drives to left field.

Until Bryce Harper returns, the Phillies plan to rotate the designated hitter spot in the lineup. So, everyone knows who the starting eight position players are going to be, and Garrett Stubbs is going to be the backup catcher. That leaves four bench spots up for grabs.

Sosa is a lock, but he’s included in this conversation because the Phillies are giving him some reps in the outfield, which, if he’s able to add that versatility, could impact the others in the conversation.

Harrison is almost definitely going to be there as well. You don’t sign a 35-year-old veteran to a contract right before Spring Training, adding him to your 40-man roster, if you don’t expect him to be on the squad. His clubhouse presence, plus his ability to play multiple positions in both the infield and outfield, secures his value.

That leaves five guys for two spots. And the competition has been fierce among four of them.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson inserted Sosa, Hall, Kingery, Cave, and Clemens into the starting lineup against the Yankees Saturday, batting 2-3-4-5-6 in the order. Kingery played center field. Thomson has said Sosa will get starts in the coming days in bother center and left. Clemens, who has played mostly in the infield so far, started in left field.

“It’s good competition and competition is good for everybody,” Thomson said. “They’re buying into it. It’s a good vibe. The more tough decisions we have to make, the better.”

Thomson said he still doesn’t know which way he wants to go with those final two positions and figures to just let it play out over the next couple weeks.

Cave has put a big stake in the outfield grass to claim a spot. Like Harrison, he, too, is on the 40-man roster. He was one of the first moves the Phillies made in the offseason, an under-the-radar signing. for sure. Cave was once a top prospect himself, but injuries derailed his career a little bit. Now, at 30, he’s as healthy as he’s been in a while, and is leaving it all out there. He’s made two diving catches thus far this spring, threw a runner out at second trying to stretch a single into a double, and has a double, two triples and two homers.

Here’s his (and Hall’s) homers on Monday against Baltimore:

The one drawback is Cave is a lefty, as are starting outfielders Brandon Marsh and Kyle Schwarber. The Phillies would prefer a righthanded outfielder, which is why Dalton Guthrie was considered a favorite for a bench spot coming into camp. But Guthrie has struggled mightily. He’s 1-for-20 so far this Spring.

“I’m not happy with my start,” Guthrie said. “But it is a long season, and it’s hard to remember that sometimes. For me, I just have to get my stuff right. Whatever happens, happens, I just got to get my stuff right. I can only control what I can control.”

Guthrie’s slow start and Cave’s on-field statement so far may have made the Phillies consider the options of trying Sosa in the outfield. If they can have right-handed hitting options out there, then Cave’s bat is far more attractive off the bench, or playing in the field when either Schwarber or Nick Castellanos need a day off, or are in the DH spot.

“I think I’ve put myself in a pretty good spot,” Cave said. “I’ve luckily ended up on a team where I do have an opportunity. I feel great and I’ve got a good routine now both with my bat and my body. It took me 12 years of pro ball to figure it out, but I feel good being here. I’m on the (40-man) roster and I think I can help this team. Once the season starts, hopefully I’m in Philly, and if not, I’ll play my ass off in Lehigh to get there.”

As for Hall, Thomson said it’s all about hitting for him. If he hits, he’ll make the roster. And prior to Saturday, he was on fire, although he took an 0-fer in four plate appearances against the Yankees.

Still, one game isn’t going to make or break an entire spring.

“He’s hitting lefties now,” Thomson said. “It’s pretty impressive. He controls the zone and sees the ball very well. He’s doing very well with it right now.”

As for Clemens, although he is versatile defensively, the Phillies would be more interested in him for what his potential is as a hitter. He’s not as good in the field as Sosa, Kingery, or Harrison (Clemens dropped a fly ball in left against the Yankees, leading to a run), but the Phillies are enticed by the possibility of having his lefthanded bat on the bench at some point.

To Guthrie’s point earlier, the season is long and you are always going to need guys who aren’t with you on Opening Day. Consider Guthrie was on the playoff roster despite playing just 11 regular season games. Meanwhile Didi Gregorius, Johan Camargo, Mickey Moniak, Corey Knebel, Jeurys Familia, and Damon Jones were all on the Opening Day roster and didn’t sniff September, let alone the postseason.

As such, the Phillies could end up needing all of these guys at some point.

But it’s always fun to see who gets the job first.

Song and dance routine

Thomson teased an update on Noah Song Friday, and it came Saturday morning – Song is being shut down for a few days because of back tightness.

Song, whom the Phillies selected in the Rule 5 draft from Boston, to the surprise of many because Song was serving in the U.S. Navy, arrived in camp after having his commitment to the Navy being put into reserve status, allowing him to return to baseball.

This meant the Phillies had to bring him in and would have to carry him on the major league roster for at least 90 days once the season begins, or he would have to be returned to the Red Sox.

But, if a player is injured, they can start the season on the injured list, meaning he is technically still on the active roster.

Song had an MRI Friday, which is leading to this pause in his return to baseball. Putting him on the IL buys the Phillies more time to figure out what to do. Could they being looking for a loophole within the rules? Does this back injury linger long enough to allow the Phillies to work with him and evaluate him further, which no doubt would include the maximum of 30 days as part of a rehab assignment?

They could then decide to roll the dice with Song at the Major League level later this summer, or cut bait and either trade him, waive him, or offer him back to Boston.

It’s definitely an intriguing situation and one to keep an eye on.