There is good news, bad news and so-so news on the Phillies injury front.
The bad news: Rhys Hoskins, the team’s hottest hitter over the last couple of weeks, will miss at least 10 of the final 14 games, after being placed on the 10-day injured list with a left elbow injury.
The so-so news: J.T. Realmuto’s sore hip is improving and he will not require a trip to the IL. He believes he can return to the lineup in the coming days, but there’s no timetable for said return and that’s not ideal with the schedule shrinking and a playoff berth hanging in the balance.
The good news: The torn fingernail on Zack Wheeler’s right middle finger improved enough for him to throw 41 pitches in the bullpen before Monday’s game in Miami. Manager Joe Girardi said he expected Wheeler to be able to start one of the games in the series that begins Tuesday night against the Mets, but the final call would be made when he sees how Wheeler feels 24 hours after his bullpen session. Wheeler would be able to make three more starts if he can answer the bell on Thursday.
Realmuto spoke to Wheeler after the pitcher threw Monday.
“He seemed to feel pretty good,” Realmuto said. “I don’t want to give away too much but one of his pitches didn’t feel too great so he might not use that certain pitch too much but everything else he said felt really good.”
Hoskins injured his left elbow making a play on a wide throw Saturday night in Miami. He did not play in Sunday’s doubleheader. An MRI performed in Miami on Monday confirmed an unspecified injury to his ulnar collateral ligament.
“We’re not ready to say that he’s out for the year,” Girardi said. “Our hope is that we’ll get him back.”
Hoskins will have to stay on the IL through at least September 22. Only four regular-season games will remain after that.
Losing Hoskins’ bat will hurt. Over his last 22 games, he was hitting .275 with nine homers, 19 RBIs and a .979 OPS.
Phil Gosselin played first base in place of Hoskins on Monday. It’s possible that Alec Bohm could play there in the coming days with Scott Kingery playing second base and Jean Segura shifting back to third.
Realmuto also had an MRI on Monday. It revealed a mild strain of his left hip flexor. He first felt it running the bases on Saturday night. Girardi said Realmuto would probably be out for “a couple of days, then we’ll go day by day and we’ll have to see what his workload is after that.”
Backup Andrew Knapp and rookie Rafael Marchan will handle the catching duties while Realmuto mends.
“It feels a lot better today than it did (Sunday),” Realmuto said. “(Sunday) it was pretty sore. As long as I keep progressing like I did today, I don’t think it should be too long.
“I’m not sure what caused it. I was sprinting down the line on my last at-bat (Saturday night) and felt a little pop halfway down the line and knew right then that something wasn’t right. I went out and played defense the next inning and backing up a ground ball to first base, I just didn’t feel right running at all. Down the line, something happened, I’m just not sure what caused it.
“And I’m not sure necessarily that it’s even the hip. It’s kind of the upper quad. It’s more muscular, which is a good sign. It’s a good thing that it wasn’t necessarily my hip that was injured but it was just kind of that general area. I’ve had in the past where this area bothered me just from wear and tear, running up and down the line. I usually do feel it when I’m running the bases but I never had to miss any time for it. This time, it was just a little worse. I felt that little clicking running down the baseline and I think that was the sign that it was worse than it had been in the past. I’m just happy that it wasn’t any worse than it was in the past.”
The Phillies’ injured list is a crowded place with two weeks to go in the season. Outfielders Jay Bruce and Roman Quinn are both out. So is lefty reliever Jose Alvarez. The Phils placed pitcher Spencer Howard and Hoskins on the IL during their seven-game series in Miami. The Phils went 2-5 against the Marlins and fell into third place in the NL East.