The Reds designated Phillips for assignment Sunday, and the Mets claimed him off waivers Wednesday in time for the infielder to return to the stadium he considered home for four seasons.
Phillips played first base for the Yankees from 2004-07, and he hit .292 in 61 appearances for them last season. He said he was somewhat surprised by the chain of events in the past week, but he's happy to be back in a familiar city.
"The whole situation has been a little unusual, but it's been kind of unique and fun," Phillips said. "It's just the craziness of this game."
Mets manager Jerry Manuel had not decided if Phillips, who was not in the lineup for Game 1, would play in the second game of the doubleheader Friday, and it will depend on the play of the first game. But Manuel said the idea of playing Phillips against the Yankees would have its advantages.
"You'd like to play a guy who's going against his former team, his former teammates," Manuel said. "They seem to have a little bit more energy and desire and motivation to do well. I'd like to play him, but I can't do that at the expense of guys who have been here."
Phillips said his role with the Mets has not been clearly defined yet, and before the team boarded a bus to Yankee Stadium on Friday morning, he was merely concerned that his bats, gloves and pants would arrive in the mail.
But Phillips said whether it's on the field or in the dugout, he will find a way to help his team.
"That's my goal wherever I am, is to have an impact, and if that means out there playing or if that means standing over there cheering, whatever it means, I want to have an impact somehow," Phillips said.
Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.