Phillies

If Rhys Hoskins is back in left field next season, 'I don’t blink an eye'

If Rhys Hoskins is back in left field next season, 'I don’t blink an eye'

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Rhys Hoskins made his third start of the season at first base for the Phillies on Friday night and helped the club post a rousing 14-2 win (see first take) with his team-leading 31st homer.

All but dead in the NL East race, the Phillies can afford to use the final 2½ weeks of the season to get a read on a handful of players heading into next season (see story).

It was interesting to see Hoskins at first base because it is his natural position and there has been some recent rumble that the Phillies could consider trading Carlos Santana in the offseason and moving Hoskins back to first base.

How would Hoskins feel about moving back to first base full time?

“Of course, I would like to go back there,” he said after the game. “I’ve played that position forever.

“But do I want to go back there? I don’t care. I honestly don’t. I told Gabe (Kapler) this from the get-go. As long as I get to hit, I don’t care where I play. I really don’t.”

So if Hoskins is back in left field next year?

“I don’t blink an eye,” he said.

An emerging leader

Yes, Hoskins is this team’s leader, but at age 25 and with only a year of big-league service time, he is still growing into the role. The best is yet to come. The team-first attitude displayed in the above comments is why he could someday be a special leader.

Lineup clicks

The Phillies snapped a five-game losing streak with an 18-hit attack that included five home runs. Kapler loaded the lineup with righty bats against lefty Wei-Yin Chen. That was a big reason for using Hoskins at first and Santana at third. It allowed for another righty bat, Aaron Altherr, in left field. He had his best night of the season with two homers, two singles, five RBIs and a great second-to-home dash to score a run in the fourth.

“Gabe wanted to get as many right-handed bats as possible in the lineup,” Hoskins said. “A lot of (using Hoskins at first) was to get Altherr in there. Kap played the right card.”

Return of the heat

Zach Eflin lasted just three innings and gave up six runs in his previous start against the Mets. He gave up a hit to Jay Bruce on a fastball in the second inning of that game then stayed away from his fastball and relied on his slider. That pitch was hit hard.

Eflin went back to featuring his hard, four-seam fastball in this game and pitched 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball for the win. He got the fastball up to 96.8 mph.

“He looks best when he’s stepping on that four-seam fastball and utilizing it frequently,” Kapler said. "That's the pitch that will make him great."

Speed kills 

Centerfielder Roman Quinn was back in the lineup, stealing playing time from inconsistent Odubel Herrera. Quinn’s broken toe is clearly feeling better. He used his outstanding speed to beat out a potential double-play ball that resulted in two runs. He also had an infield hit. And a home run. With 16 games left, he should get a lot of playing time as he auditions for a big role in 2019.

A sight of relief 

Rookie Mitch Walding was hitless with 10 strikeouts in 14 at-bats with the big club this season. He won’t go hitless for the season, thanks to a two-run homer in the eighth inning. 

So what that it came against Bryan Holaday, the Marlins’ backup catcher, on a 61-mph breaking ball? Walding is off the schneid.

“Probably one of the happiest moments I've ever had in my life,” he said.

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Phillies and Nationals postponed, will make game up in doubleheader Wednesday

Phillies and Nationals postponed, will make game up in doubleheader Wednesday

WASHINGTON — After a rain delay of 2 hours and 55 minutes, the Phillies-Nationals game Monday night was postponed and will be made up Wednesday as part of a split doubleheader (1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.).

As a result, Jake Arrieta's start will be pushed back to Tuesday. He will be pitching on six days rest. 

There was no rain or light rain for the first 90 minutes of Monday's delay, but two hard cells hit Nationals Park and fans began flocking to the exits around 9 p.m.

Weather seems to impact the Phillies every time they come to Washington.

From a Phillies perspective, at least all four games will be played this week. Had the game been postponed to a later date, the Nationals could have skipped No. 5 starter Erick Fedde and just gone Patrick Corbin-Max Scherzer-Stephen Strasburg. 

The Phils also probably appreciate not having to play Roman Quinn on a wet, potentially dangerous field in his first game back from injury.

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Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

WASHINGTON — Some updates on the wounded Phillies, who not only have eight players on the injured list but also have a shorter bench than usual with two everyday starters banged up.

CF Roman Quinn

Quinn was activated off the IL Monday and will bat sixth in Monday's lineup against tough Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin. Formerly a switch-hitter, Quinn will now bat exclusively from the right side.

Because he has been hurt so frequently, the Phillies will be cautious with Quinn. The tentative plan is to use him off the bench Tuesday as the Phillies pay attention to how he bounces back from the start Monday.

Quinn can still provide value for this team, especially with the collection of injuries to centerfielders.

OF Jay Bruce

Bruce (hamstring) was out of Monday's lineup as a precaution — and also because Corbin was the opponent — but will likely be available to pinch-hit.

C J.T. Realmuto

Realmuto got a second straight day off Monday as he recovers from taking a foul ball to the groin midway through Saturday's game.

Realmuto caught the first 105 innings in the month of June and was due for a day off but didn't want it to come like this.

"We want him to be feeling himself," manager Gabe Kapler said. "Doesn't mean that he's going to feel perfect by the time we put him back in the lineup but we definitely want to be sensitive to the fact that he's still a little bit sore. I don't think it's so much about him re-injuring the area as it is not doing anything else that might cause a problem."

RHP Tommy Hunter

As expected, Hunter (flexor strain) will begin a rehab assignment Monday night with Class A Clearwater. He isn't too far away from making his season debut.

LHP Adam Morgan

Morgan (flexor strain) threw a bullpen session Sunday for the second time in four days. Last week, Kapler indicated Morgan may be able to return this upcoming weekend. There should be more clarity tonight or Tuesday on his status.

RHP Jerad Eickhoff

Eickhoff was placed on the injured list Monday with biceps tendinitis, a day after allowing five runs and two more homers in one inning of relief.

Eickhoff first felt the nagging injury in Milwaukee on May 24 but tried to play through it, as most guys do, for better or for worse.

"Just been something that's been bugging him a little bit and not allowing him to get loose the way he wants to get loose," Kapler said. "Out of respect for one of our hardest workers and most prepared individuals, it makes sense to really pay attention to that and protect him and get him back in his best physical baseball condition."

It's the second Phillies injury this week in which a player tried to play through pain and had to miss some time because of it. Bruce first felt his hamstring tightness "three or four days" before exiting Saturday's game, according to the player.

Would Kapler rather his guys tell him when they first start feeling pain?

"I understand what it's like to be a player and want to play through things that feel nagging," he said. "These guys are professionals, they all want as many opportunities as they can possibly get. We talk a lot about the more communication, the better. I also understand the position our players are in."

OF Adam Haseley

Haseley remains out with a groin injury but is making some progress. He took batting practice and shagged fly balls Monday in D.C.

The next step would be practicing baseball-like movements such as bursting out of the batter's box and simulating a stolen base attempt.

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