Andrew Knapp

Tonight's lineup: Andrew Knapp returns; J.P. Crawford at shortstop


Tonight's lineup: Andrew Knapp returns; J.P. Crawford at shortstop

For the first time since Aug. 3, Andrew Knapp starts for the Phillies behind the plate.

Knapp catches Mark Leiter Jr. and bats seventh in tonight's series opener against the Oakland Athletics. The switch-hitting catcher missed six weeks with a fractured hand.

Knapp has gotten on base pretty consistently during his rookie season, hitting .253/.362/.373 in 188 plate appearances. 

Freddy Galvis has the night off, allowing for J.P. Crawford to start at shortstop for the second time since his call-up. Of Crawford's eight starts to this point, five have been at third base, two were at second base and one was at short.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Nick Williams, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Andrew Knapp, C
8. J.P. Crawford, SS
9. Mark Leiter Jr., P

And for the A's:

1. Matt Joyce, LF
2. Marcus Semien, SS
3. Jed Lowrie, 2B
4. Matt Olson, 1B
5. Ryon Healy, 3B
6. Bruce Maxwell, C
7. Chad Pinder, RF
8. Boog Powell, CF
9. Daniel Mengden, P

Phillies Notes: Awaiting Rhys Hoskins; Andrew Knapp's hand broken

Phillies Notes: Awaiting Rhys Hoskins; Andrew Knapp's hand broken

ATLANTA — Slugging minor leaguer Rhys Hoskins could be in the Phillies' lineup very soon.

Hoskins, a first baseman by trade, is making starts in the outfield in anticipation of joining the Phillies, maybe as early as the next homestand. 

Before Tuesday's game against the Braves, manager Pete Mackanin said no definite plans have been made about Hoskins’ promotion, but said, “We just want to see his bat up here.”

Hoskins, the team’s fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft, entered Tuesday batting .281 with 27 homers and 85 RBIs for Triple A Lehigh Valley. He has walked 64 times and struck out 75 times in 113 games, with a .385 on-base percentage and .568 slugging percentage. 

Hoskins broke through a year ago at Double A Reading when he hit .281 with 38 homers and 116 RBIs. 

The holdup has been the performance of Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph, who has pieced together a solid sophomore season. Joseph is batting .249 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs, and the team is reluctant to put him on the bench. 

“Tommy Joseph has done well enough and there are enough games left to show even more improvement,” Mackanin said. “It’s hard to put Tommy Joseph on the bench.”

So Hoskins has been taking fly balls and made his second straight start in left field Tuesday after debuting there Monday.

“He got four or five chances and did OK,” Mackanin said of Hoskins' first look at the new position. “It’s not as easy as you think to play the outfield if you haven’t done it.”

The decision to move Hoskins to the fast-track may have been spurred by the injury to Aaron Altherr, who went on the disabled list for the second time with a right hamstring strain. Altherr can come off the DL on Aug. 21, although Mackannin said the club won’t rush him back into action. 

Knapp's hand broken
Catcher Andrew Knapp was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right-hand contusion retroactive to Aug. 4, but he will be out longer.

“They found a fracture and it’s going to be a couple of weeks,” Mackanin said. 

Knapp was injured when he took a foul tip to the hand off the bat of Albert Pujols in a game against the Angels last week.

Jorge Alfaro was recalled on Aug. 4 and will be the backup catcher to Cameron Rupp. Alfaro, part of the 2015 trade that sent Cole Hamels to Texas, was 2 for 4 in his first game of the season.

“I’m going to play him,” Mackanin said. “I’ll pick my spots. He’ll get a little bit of playing time. He got two hits the other day. We’ll see.”

Right-hander Zach Eflin was called up from Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and started the opening game of the two-game series against the Braves. This is Eflin’s second stint with the Phillies. He made eight starts, going 0-3 with a 6.13 ERA before being optioned to Triple A. 

Phillies call up Zach Eflin to start tonight in Atlanta; Andrew Knapp to DL

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Phillies call up Zach Eflin to start tonight in Atlanta; Andrew Knapp to DL

Zach Eflin is up from Triple A Lehigh Valley and will start for the Phillies Tuesday for the first time since May 28.

For now, Eflin replaces Jake Thompson in the Phils' rotation. To make room for Eflin on the 25-man roster, the Phillies placed catcher Andrew Knapp on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Aug. 4, with a right-hand contusion. (That means Jorge Alfaro will be up at least another week.)

Eflin wasn't at his best in his last start for the IronPigs on Aug. 3, allowing five runs on nine hits over six innings. He had a 4.72 ERA in six starts at Triple A after returning from an elbow injury that sidelined him for about a month from late May through late June.

The 23-year-old right-hander has had some flashes of success in the major leagues, though, and it makes sense for the Phillies to give Eflin some more opportunities to get into a groove. They'll likely give Ben Lively some more starts this season as well, either as a spot starter or sixth starter that helps curtail the others' innings totals.

Eflin made eight starts with the Phillies earlier this season and went 0-3 with a 6.13 ERA. In his first five outings, he had a 2.81 ERA and .233 opponents' batting average with just four walks in 32 innings. In his last three starts up here, Eflin had a 13.20 ERA and .462 opponents' batting average with five walks in 15 innings.

Control is the key for Eflin, a sinkerballer who doesn't miss many bats. Tonight, he'll face a Braves team he's pitched very well against — two runs allowed in 16 innings over two starts.