Phillies roster roulette: Jay Bruce injured again, Adam Haseley is back in big leagues

Phillies roster roulette: Jay Bruce injured again, Adam Haseley is back in big leagues

Updated: 9:09 p.m. 

SAN FRANCISCO — Jay Bruce’s return to action did not last long.

Neither did Adam Haseley’s trip to the minor leagues.

After one game back in the lineup, Bruce has returned to the injured list, this time with a left elbow injury.

Haseley, who despite swinging a hot bat was sent to Triple A to clear room for Bruce on Thursday, has been recalled. He was in the starting lineup in center field against the Giants on Friday night. He had never actually reported to Triple A and is allowed to return to the majors without the typical 10-day wait because his recall is the result of an injury.

Bruce returned to the Phillies’ lineup on Thursday night after being sidelined for three weeks with an oblique injury. Like every other player in the starting lineup, he went hitless in a 5-0 loss to Madison Bumgarner and the Giants. (Pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez had the Phillies’ only hit.) Bruce emerged from the game with elbow soreness, the result of a throw he made in the third inning.

An MRI performed on Friday revealed that Bruce had a Grade 1 flexor strain. He will not hit or throw for two weeks. He will be evaluated after that.

“Frustrating is the only word for it,” Bruce said. "I needed to make a throw, I threw it, and it did not feel good."

Bruce is optimistic he will return to play this season.

Bruce’s latest injury begs the question of why the Phillies did not send him to the minors for a couple of games to get some at-bats and test his body in a rehab setting. Oftentimes, teams defer to veteran players on rehab assignments. Bruce did go through extensive outfield workouts in the days leading up to his coming off the IL.

“We look at decisions like that from every angle,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He was rehabbing an intercostal muscle that was healed and he was feeling strong. He felt like his timing and his rhythm were where they needed to be. The injury that he was dealing with got better. He got in the batter’s box last night and smoked a ball and sprinted to first base. He looked great and felt great.”

Bruce, 32, was acquired from Seattle in June. He hit 10 homers and drove in 29 runs in his first 28 games with the club but is 0 for 17 since the All-Star break.

Bruce is under contract with the Phillies for next season. He had $21 million remaining on his deal when the Phillies acquired him, but the Phils are on the hook for just $2.75 million of that.

Thursday’s decision to send Haseley to the minors raised eyebrows because he was hitting .350 with a .381 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage over his previous 11 games and he had five hits, including two doubles, while starting the first three games on this road trip. The Phils were nearly no-hit without Haseley on Thursday night. Now, the 23-year-old outfielder is back on the active roster. Maybe the Phils will get more than one hit Friday night.

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Toronto's 3-month shutdown doesn't bode well for any pro sport

Toronto's 3-month shutdown doesn't bode well for any pro sport

The announcement Tuesday that the city of Toronto has banned all public events through June 30 is not a good sign that games in any North American professional sports league will be back by then.

This is the longest-ranged shutdown any city has enacted, a span of three months. What is more likely: That only Toronto makes this decision, or that by the end of April many cities in the U.S. have followed suit?

In Toronto, this pertains to city-permitted events such as festivals and parades, city-led conferences and cultural programs, and major mass participation events organized by external groups at civic centers and squares, parks and public spaces. It's logical that sporting events could follow.

Previously, we knew that MLB's regular season would begin no earlier than late May or early June. That is an optimistic target date. If the season somehow does begin by June, it will likely be in empty stadiums. This is going to be gradual. It's unrealistic to expect 30,000 fans plus hundreds of stadium workers to be carefree and packed into a venue in just a few months.

"If you have municipalities doing that, to me it's tough to open your doors at a ballpark," Jim Salisbury said on our Phillies Talk podcast Tuesday.

"You think, well, OK, play with no fans, but they need personnel in the ballpark just to get the ballpark open. These clubhouses are big complexes, multi-room complexes. You're gonna have an expanded roster of like 30 players, then you'll have guys on the IL, 10-plus man coaching staffs and video staffs and analytics staffs and athletic training staffs and there's even the guys in there nightly who do the drug testing. 

"Your clubhouse complexes are very populated. There's a lot of people in there, and you don't know where people are going in those 10, 11 hours that they're out of the ballpark. You have umpires and TV personnel. To me, those are still gatherings. I don't even know if you can play with nobody in the ballpark. I don't have any idea how this is gonna play out."

The Phillies were supposed to host the Blue Jays in April and visit them in mid-September. Toronto's NBA and NHL teams are both heavily in the playoff mix. The Raptors are the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference and the Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic. Playoffs in both leagues end in June; how far could they extend this year?

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How Philly-New York trash talk led to the Oakland Athletics elephant mascot

How Philly-New York trash talk led to the Oakland Athletics elephant mascot

The Oakland Athletics were slated to visit Philadelphia in mid-June in 2020 which, for the A's, would have been a return to the franchise's original home.

But the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has Major League Baseball adjusting its 2020 schedule on the fly, so let's take some time to exploring a particularly quirky connection between Philadelphia and the Athletics' whimsical elephant mascot, Stomper.

You know, this guy:

Stomper dates all the way back to 1902, when professional baseball was still finding its footing, according to a neat little video on a slice of baseball from NBC Sports Bay Area.

It was a different time: Philadelphia had a team called the Athletics, and a man named John McGraw was managing the New York Giants. (Yes, the baseball Giants.)

McGraw, during a press conference, said he didn't think the Athletics' decision to buy up expensive star players' contracts was going to pay off, and said they would be left with "a big white elephant on their hands".

Famed Athletics owner and general manager Connie Mack laughed at McGraw's characterization, and decided to make a white elephant the Athletics' unofficial mascot. Eventually it became official, and before the Athletics and Giants faced off in the 1905 World Series, Mack presented McGraw with a white elephant statuette.

What an unreal Philly zinger.

You can watch the video from NBC Sports Bay Area below:

When the Athletics moved to Kansas City, the elephant disappeared (politics) but after the Athletics moved to Oakland, the team made the decision in the late 1980s to have the elephant make a triumphant - tri-unk-phant? - return.

I'm glad it came back, because now we have a reason to remember a sick 115-year-old burn. Connie Mack forever.