The Phillies’ offense could get a boost as soon as Saturday when shortstop Jean Segura is expected to come off the injured list. Segura appeared to clear the final hurdle in his recovery from a hamstring injury when he participated in base-running drills Friday afternoon.
“As of this moment, the game plan is to have him available [Saturday], potentially even start at shortstop,” manager Gabe Kapler said after watching Segura run the bases.
Segura, the Phillies’ No. 2 hitter, was hitting .328 with a .384 on-base percentage and 13 runs scored in 16 games when he left the game on April 16.
Entering Friday night, the Phillies had lost six of the nine games they’d played without Segura and the offense had sputtered.
Getting the contact machine shortstop back will help.
“Jean can definitely provide a spark for us, but it’s not just on his shoulders and we shouldn’t assume that inserting him into the lineup is going to fix every woe that we’ve experienced over the course of the last two weeks; I don’t think that would be reasonable,” Kapler said. “But I will say that he was a spark at the top of our lineup when he was in there and I have no doubt that he can provide that spark again.”
Williams gets first start
Nick Williams was slated to make his first start of the season on Friday night. He was listed in left field, batting fifth for the Phillies.
Williams made the defensive play of the early season when he gunned down a runner at the plate to preserve a 1-1 tie in the top of the ninth inning Thursday night. The Phillies lost the game, 3-1, in the 10th.
Williams’ throw from left field registered 95.5 mph, according to Statcast. Neither starting pitcher threw a ball that hard all night.
“We were all still talking about it when we got to the ballpark today,” Kapler said.
Playing time has been scarce for Williams, who is primarily a rightfielder. Bryce Harper now plays that position and he’s not going to take many days off. Andrew McCutchen is set in left field and Odubel Herrera in center. With Herrera and Roman Quinn both on the IL with hamstring injuries, Kapler was able to get Williams a start in left field by moving McCutchen to center.
“Nick has handled this about as professionally as anyone could,” Kapler said. “He’s actually been a breath of fresh air in that regard. It’s hard to not have a start until near the end of April. It’s a huge mental challenge and I think he’s done a good job of tackling it.”
The Phils made a minor trade Friday, sending Triple A reliever James Pazos to Colorado for minor-league infielder Hunter Stovall. Pazos had been designated for assignment earlier in the week.
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