Nick Williams out briefly with broken nose; Pat Neshek close to being 'biggest bullpen acquisition'

Nick Williams out briefly with broken nose; Pat Neshek close to being 'biggest bullpen acquisition'

A few interesting items on the injury front from Citizens Bank Park:

• Nick Williams is not in Tuesday night’s lineup. He left Monday night’s game after getting hit in the nose by a ball that ricocheted off the right field wall. At first, it looked like Williams had suffered nothing more than a bloody nose. Further evaluation revealed a break. Both Williams and the Phillies are confident he can avoid the disabled list and return very soon.

“I thought I could play today,” Williams said. “I’m ready.”

It does not appear as if Williams suffered a concussion though the team was awaiting the results of some tests.

“As of right now, we don't think there is a concussion,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Our feeling is that he's going to be able to go [Wednesday]. This is nothing long term; it's not a DL. But we do want to be careful with the concussion stuff for today."

• Reliever Pat Neshek, who has not pitched this season because of a shoulder injury then later a forearm injury, is making good progress in Florida. He could be out on a minor-league rehab assignment next week and be back in early July.

“When Pat thinks he’s ready and our evaluators think he’s ready, we’ll gladly get him here right away,” general manager Matt Klentak said. “I couldn’t tell you if that’s going to be one or two outings or four or five outings.”

Klentak signed Neshek to a two-year, $16.25 million contract in the offseason. He believes the veteran right-hander will provide a big boost to the bullpen.

“That may be the single biggest bullpen acquisition any team makes — Pat Neshek rejoining us,” Klentak said. “This guy was as good a setup reliever as there was in all of baseball for six months last season.”

• Mickey Moniak has been out of the Clearwater lineup recently. He had his wisdom teeth removed. He is working his way back into action. Moniak, 20, was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.

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Phillies prepared to ride Aaron Nola like a horse down the stretch

Phillies prepared to ride Aaron Nola like a horse down the stretch

BOSTON – The Phillies are considering a plan to max-out Aaron Nola the rest of the way. Under the plan, Nola would pitch every fifth day the remainder of the season, regardless of whether the Phils have an off day between one of his starts.

“It’s something we've discussed over the course of the last 10 days,” manager Gabe Kapler said before Nola took the mound against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. “It's something that we're considering. I don't want to make any announcements. But, starting Aaron every fifth day would also put him in line to start the last game of the season -- or give us a chance to have us start him the last game of the season. It's a major consideration and one we'll talk about after we get through today's start.”

The plan can be adjusted along the way if need be. For now, Nola’s fifth day would be Sunday in Miami.

“I'm comfortable going as far to say that that's a likelihood,” Kapler said.

If Nola pitches every fifth day the rest of the way, he would make eight more starts. He would line up to pitch the season finale at home against the Marlins on Sept. 29. If the Phillies are in or out of the playoffs by then, they could adjust.

The Phillies have often chosen to give Nola an extra day between starts when the schedule allows. In his career, he is 27-8 with a 2.60 ERA when pitching on five days’ rest instead of the customary four. Entering Tuesday night, he was 23-20 with a 4.49 ERA in his career on four days’ rest.

Keeping Nola on his fifth day the remainder of the season is an acknowledgement that Nola is very good. It’s also an admission that there’s a huge drop-off in the rotation after him. That drop-off could ultimately be the Phillies’ undoing in the wild-card race. 

If the Phillies follow through and use Nola every fifth day, his remaining starts would be:

Sunday at Miami

August 30 vs. Mets

Sept. 4 at Cincinnati

Sept. 9 vs. Atlanta

Sept. 14 vs. Boston

Sept. 19 at Atlanta

Sept. 24 at Washington

Sept. 29 vs. Miami

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At the Yard podcast: Keys vs. Red Sox on a very winnable trip; Rhys Hoskins overreactions


At the Yard podcast: Keys vs. Red Sox on a very winnable trip; Rhys Hoskins overreactions

Ricky Bottalico and Corey Seidman discuss the Phillies' very winnable road trip, keys to winning at Fenway and the flood of overreactions to Rhys Hoskins' second-half slump on this edition of "At the Yard."

• Keys to beating the Red Sox.

• Outlook for the winnable, 5-game road trip.

• Phillies nearing a team record they didn't want.

• Phillies far from only team snakebit by pricy veteran relievers.

• People are freaking out about Rhys Hoskins.

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