ATLANTA — The Phillies spent the spring talking about keeping their players healthy and implementing plans to do so.
And now, two days into the regular season, they have four pitchers on the disabled list.
Reliever Pat Neshek joined Tommy Hunter, Jerad Eickhoff and Mark Leiter Jr. on the DL Thursday. He has a right shoulder strain that he described in contrasting terms.
“It’s not anything major, I don’t think,” he said at first.
Later, he said the injury “could be something serious.”
Neshek will have tests Saturday to determine the exact severity of the injury.
The pitcher said he started feeling discomfort in the back of his shoulder during his final spring training outing. The 37-year-old right-hander knows his body — he’s a Tommy John surgery veteran — and he’s never previously felt pain in the back of the shoulder.
“That’s what’s kind of weirding me out a little,” he said.
The Phillies recalled right-handed reliever Yacksel Rios from Triple A to take Neshek’s place.
Neshek signed a two-year, $16.25 million contract with the Phillies in December. He was one of two veteran bullpen additions, the other being Hunter, who signed a two-year, $18 million contract. Hunter is out with a hamstring injury that is not considered serious.
Neshek was not available to pitch in Thursday’s season opener, a troubling loss in which the Phillies’ blew a 5-0 lead after manager Gabe Kapler removed starting pitcher Aaron Nola after 68 pitches (see story). The Phillies’ bullpen gave up seven runs and lost the game, 8-7, on a walk-off three-run homer by Atlanta’s Nick Markakis.
“It sucks, it’s terrible,” Neshek said of not being able to help out in that game. “You just feel like a bum at the end.”