Phillies place Pat Neshek on disabled list

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Phillies place Pat Neshek on disabled list

ATLANTA — The Phillies spent the spring talking about keeping their players healthy and implementing plans to do so.

And now, two days into the regular season, they have four pitchers on the disabled list.

Reliever Pat Neshek joined Tommy Hunter, Jerad Eickhoff and Mark Leiter Jr. on the DL Thursday. He has a right shoulder strain that he described in contrasting terms.

“It’s not anything major, I don’t think,” he said at first.

Later, he said the injury “could be something serious.”

Neshek will have tests Saturday to determine the exact severity of the injury.

The pitcher said he started feeling discomfort in the back of his shoulder during his final spring training outing. The 37-year-old right-hander knows his body — he’s a Tommy John surgery veteran — and he’s never previously felt pain in the back of the shoulder.

“That’s what’s kind of weirding me out a little,” he said.

The Phillies recalled right-handed reliever Yacksel Rios from Triple A to take Neshek’s place.

Neshek signed a two-year, $16.25 million contract with the Phillies in December. He was one of two veteran bullpen additions, the other being Hunter, who signed a two-year, $18 million contract. Hunter is out with a hamstring injury that is not considered serious.

Neshek was not available to pitch in Thursday’s season opener, a troubling loss in which the Phillies’ blew a 5-0 lead after manager Gabe Kapler removed starting pitcher Aaron Nola after 68 pitches (see story). The Phillies’ bullpen gave up seven runs and lost the game, 8-7, on a walk-off three-run homer by Atlanta’s Nick Markakis.

“It sucks, it’s terrible,” Neshek said of not being able to help out in that game. “You just feel like a bum at the end.”

Former Phillies 1st-rounder Jesse Biddle earns win in MLB debut

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Former Phillies 1st-rounder Jesse Biddle earns win in MLB debut

Former Phillies first-round pick Jesse Biddle had a memorable major-league debut Saturday night for a division rival. 

Biddle, the 27th overall pick by the Phillies in 2010 out of Germantown Friends High School, pitched a scoreless ninth inning of relief for the Braves, earning the victory after Atlanta came back in the bottom half against Mets closer Jeurys Familia.

Minutes earlier, Biddle had to bear down with two outs and a man on third base and his team trailing by a run. Yoenis Cespedes launched a moonshot homer to left field that was originally ruled a home run before being overturned to a foul ball. On the next pitch, Biddle got Cespedes to tap out to short to end the inning.  

Good for the now 26-year-old Biddle, who battled injuries during a rough minor-league career with the Phils. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2015, Biddle was traded to the Pirates and then claimed by the Braves in the spring of 2017.

The Phillies have no major-leaguers left from that 2010 draft class, which also produced Cameron Rupp, David Buchanan and Mario Hollands. 

Phillies set to activate Tommy Hunter after sending Hoby Milner to Triple A

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Phillies set to activate Tommy Hunter after sending Hoby Milner to Triple A

The Phillies sent left-handed reliever Hoby Milner to Triple A after Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Pirates. Though the team said it would not announce a corresponding roster move until Sunday, the transaction clears a spot for reliever Tommy Hunter to be activated.

Hunter, 31, signed a two-year, $18-million contract with the Phillies in December, but was forced to begin the season on the disabled list after suffering a hamstring strain late in spring training. The right-hander has pitched twice at Double A Reading in recent days in preparation for his return.

Milner’s departure leaves the Phillies with just one lefty — Adam Morgan — in their bullpen. However, as manager Gabe Kapler mentioned several days ago, Hunter’s cutter can be effective against lefty hitters.

Hunter pitched in 61 games for Tampa Bay last season and held lefty hitters to a .170 (15 for 88) batting average and a .501 OPS. Righties hit .224 (28 for 125) with a .649 OPS.

Milner pitched 4 2/3 innings over 10 appearances. He allowed six hits and four runs. He walked three, hit a batter and struck out four.