Updated: 5:50 p.m.
Just 10 days after he was placed on the DL with an oblique strain, Justin Bour was activated Sunday by the Phillies.
The news was surprising given the ordinary recovery timetable for an oblique injury. Position players, on average, miss 27 days with the injury. It’s rare for a player with an oblique issue to make it back before three weeks.
Now, Bour’s activation doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ready to play right away. With expanded rosters in September, the Phillies can activate him days before he’s actually ready as a just-in-case move. It’s not as if he’s taking someone’s spot on the roster.
(Update: Kapler said after Sunday's game that Bour would have been available off the bench and could play Monday in Miami.)
The Phils could obviously use Bour’s powerful left-handed bat. In tandem with Jose Bautista, he gives the Phillies a legit pinch-hit home run possibility from either side of the plate.
The timing of his activation is appropriate with Daniel Murphy and the Cubs in town. Baseball fans all over the country, along with the Cubs themselves, were shocked that Murphy slid through every NL team in the waiver order to get to the Cubs. The Phillies let Murphy pass through likely because they had so recently acquired Bour via revocable trade waivers and felt they didn’t have enough room on the 25-man roster for another lefty bat with defensive limitations.
It’s easier to criticize the Murphy non-acquisition now with Cesar Hernandez’s continued slump. Since July 1, Hernandez is 45 for 200 (.225). He’s hitting 41 points lower on the season than he did in 2016 or 2017.
More on the Phillies
The Phillies are one of the few teams in pro sports that has committed to all of its full-time employees through the end of the fiscal year (October).
They've also committed to paying their minor-leaguers through at least the end of June. Minor-leaguers were paid $400 per week in April and May.
Beyond that lies uncertainty. The widespread expectation is that there will be no minor-league season in 2020. That doesn't mean all non-prospects in each organization will be released, but it does mean that teams will employ fewer minor-leaguers throughout the summer.
Hundreds of minor-league players league-wide were released this week. It was a shock to the system because of the circumstances and the sheer number of cuts. Most of these players, however, would have been cut at the end of spring training two months ago. Most are players who faced long odds of making the major leagues. One reported cut, per Jon Heyman, is T.J. Rivera, a 31-year-old infielder the Phils signed to a minor-league deal in December. With veteran utility infielders like Neil Walker, Josh Harrison, Logan Forsythe and Phil Gosselin still in the organization, Rivera was unlikely to make the team.
MLB instituted a roster freeze right around the time camps closed. It didn't forbid releases, but teams took longer to make their moves. A primary reason so many cuts occurred this week is that the MLB draft is June 10 and teams are prepping for those new draftees and signings.
In Los Angeles, David Price himself committed to paying every Dodgers minor-leaguer $1,000 for the month of June. It's an incredible act on Price's part, especially given the fact that he hasn't even yet played a regular-season game with that organization.
The June 10 draft will be only five rounds, which means there will be more than 1,000 fewer kids drafted. Many will go the junior-college route and look to reenter the draft next year. The Phils have had plenty of productive players over the years drafted after the fifth round.
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More on the Phillies
Did you know that the Philadelphia Phillies are the longest, continuous, one name, one city franchise in all of sports? It's true.
But you're probably wondering what exactly a Phillie is anyway? And where did it come from?
You see, way back in 1883 when the Phillies were founded, it was common to call other teams by where they were from. Teams didn't have names or mascots as they do today.
Teams were referred to as "the Boston's" or "the New York's," etc. But "the Philadelphia's" didn't really roll off the tongue. Newspapers began shortening the name to "the Phillies" to save space in the headlines.
The Phillies name first appeared in the Inquirer in 1883. The team quickly adopted the new, shorter nickname and the rest is history.
You can watch a fun little video that's part of our "Ever Wonder?" series above.