The Phillies have three regular players on the injured list and now you have to wonder if another is hurting.
Second baseman Jean Segura did not start Thursday's game against the Miami Marlins, despite being one of the team's top hitters. He was used as a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth inning but did not stay in the game on defense in the bottom of the inning. Instead, manager Joe Girardi burned an extra bench player when he substituted Nick Maton at second in place of starter Brad Miller.
Why did Girardi make such a move?
Is Segura OK?
Girardi used this line of questioning to rip the scab off a self-inflicted mistake that most had already moved on from and announce that he has a new policy on discussing the availability of his players.
"Just so you guys know, we're going to approach this different," Girardi said on his postgame Zoom call. "I've talked to people in our organization. Just a manager's decision and I'm not going to share anything— who's available, who's not available — because I think it's somewhat unfair to us. Just like if you were to do something, you're not necessarily going to share it with a rival reporter. So that's the way we're going to handle it, just manager's decision."
This new policy seems to be born out of some communication missteps that Girardi made earlier this week. On Tuesday, he admitted that he lied about Bryce Harper's health status on Sunday and Monday so the opposing manager would think Harper was available to come off the bench. Girardi's ruse didn't go very far Monday night because Harper wasn't even wearing his uniform top in the dugout.
The next day, Harper was placed on the injured list, joining J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius, with a forearm contusion, and Girardi apologized for insisting that the player was healthy even though he wasn't. Girardi said his obligation was to win games and that he lied for competitive, strategic reasons.
So, now Girardi is saving himself from himself. No more talk about injuries or player availability. Reporters, and by extension, the fans — i.e., the paying customers — will know Segura is healthy and available when he next appears in a starting lineup.
It's an interesting tack for a team that hasn't had a winning season since 2011 and has slipped to third behind the Sixers on the local sporting depth chart. At a time when the Phillies should be welcoming all interest in their ballclub and their players, their manager is stiff-arming it.
But it's for competitive, strategic reasons.
A 10-game winning streak can't be far away.