Less than an hour before Friday night’s scheduled first pitch, the Phillies placed three players on the COVID-related injured list.
The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes as the team went through contract tracing.
The group of players placed on the COVID-related IL included catcher Andrew Knapp, who had been in the starting lineup, utility man Luke Williams and pitcher Zach Eflin.
Eflin had been placed on the IL with a recurrence of knee tendinitis earlier in the day.
All three players tested positive with breakthrough cases. All three had been vaccinated. Vaccinated players are not subject to testing unless they feel ill.
Knapp was seen in the dugout about 3 ½ hours before the game and looked happy and healthy. Because of the positive tests, all three players will have to miss at least 10 days.
The Phillies scrambled to add three players from Triple A, catcher Rafael Marchan, outfielder Jorge Bonifacio and pitcher Enyel De Los Santos, before the game started.
J.T. Realmuto, who was scheduled to get a night off, was thrust into the starting lineup at catcher. Earlier in the day, manager Joe Girardi revealed a plan that called for Realmuto to get time at first base in place of injured Rhys Hoskins. With Knapp out at least 10 days, that plan may need to be altered.
Eflin has not pitched since July 16. He was scheduled to pitch on Thursday but had to be scratched because of a flareup of knee tendinitis. He had an MRI on Friday. It’s not clear when or if Eflin will pitch again this season.
“I think you have to look at that, yeah,” Girardi said when asked if the knee issue could sideline Eflin for the rest of the season.
The Phillies entered Friday night desperately trying to stay in the NL East race. They were 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves with 35 to play. The Phils were six back in the wild-card chase.