Surgery for Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins? Time will tell


Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins has spent the last few days getting the complete lowdown on his injured left elbow.

He knows all the possibilities.

Including this one:

"Surgery is not off the table," he said Wednesday.

Hoskins suffered a strain to his ulna collateral ligament while making an awkward tag Saturday night in Miami. He is on the injured list and eligible to return next week, in time to play in the final four games of the regular season.

The strength of Hoskins' grip will determine whether he can start swinging a bat next week and that, in turn, will determine whether he can take batting practice and ultimately get into a game.

If the condition of the elbow hasn't improved enough to allow Hoskins to play during the final days of the regular season, maybe he can make it back for the playoffs, if the Phillies make the postseason.

If that doesn't work, Hoskins could try rest and rehab in the offseason.

But there's also a chance he'll be advised to have surgery.

"Any time you can avoid going under the knife, you want to," Hoskins said. "But, you know, we'll have to decide."

Position players do have Tommy John surgery. Didi Gregorius had it. Andrew Knapp had it. The recovery time is generally much shorter for a position player than a pitcher. A pitcher can often require 12 to 14 months, even more, to make a full recovery. A position player can be back in half that time. The injury is to Hoskins' non-throwing elbow. If he has surgery in the coming weeks, he would be able to play next season, though maybe not at the outset.


"As of right now, the plan is to try to calm it down and try to regain some of that strength over the next eight, nine or 10 days," Hoskins said. "Then we'll try to ramp it up a couple of days before and see whether or not I can swing a bat normally. And if I can at that point, we'll probably give it a go if I don't have any hesitation. If not, then we'll have to have another conversation on what the best plan of action is going forward."

Hoskins said an MRI showed "a gap" in the ligament. He acknowledged that the gap was essentially a tear. The rate at which the gap heals will help him and doctors determine whether or not to proceed with surgery.

Hoskins' injury could not have come at a worse time — for the team or the player. The Phillies are trying to run down their first playoff berth since 2011 and Hoskins had been their hottest hitter in recent weeks. Over his last 22 games, he was hitting .275 with nine homers, 19 RBIs and a .979 OPS.

Asked to sum up his emotions, Hoskins said, "I'm not worried. I'm more bummed and frustrated than anything. We've spent the last 45 games battling. We've had some obstacles that we've overcome. And to continue to be a part of the group that overcame those obstacles is something that I was really looking forward to.

"Obviously, there's still a chance that I will get to do that. We're pretty strong in our clubhouse, pretty confident in each other. We have the playoffs right in front of us for the taking. I'll do what I can to stay prepared. I'll do what I can to help the team in any way that I can.

"I have nothing but confidence in anybody that steps on that field to get us there."

With Hoskins out, Alec Bohm has moved from third base to first base. Jean Segura has moved from second to third and Scott Kingery is playing second.