NEW YORK — When Jose Pirela stepped to the plate in the top of the second inning Friday night, he became a part of Phillies history.
History that the Phillies definitely preferred not to make in 2019.
Pirela, who walked in his first plate appearance to load the bases, became the franchise-record 55th player used by the Phils this season, breaking the team record of 54 set in 1996. The Phillies have already used seven more players than they did last season.
And it likely won't end at 55. When catcher Deivy Grullon makes his first pinch-hit appearance, he will be No. 56.
The Phillies have been forced to use this many players because of injuries. The Phils have lost 27 players to the injured list this season — most in the National League by three and second-most in the majors behind only the Yankees.
In total, the Phillies had lost 1,641 player games to injury entering Friday's game. Phillies players on the injured list have earned more than $40,000,000 this season.
Pirela got the start Friday night in left field against Mets lefty Steven Matz. Manager Gabe Kapler liked the matchup because Pirela is a .289 career hitter with a .808 OPS against lefties.
Pirela and starting third baseman Maikel Franco were not set to play the whole game. It's the time of year when Kapler is frequently removing hitters and pitchers to gain every incremental matchup-based advantage. He kind of has to, given the lack of talent in the middle and back-end of the Phillies' roster.
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