Phillies

Rhys Hoskins heads home with broken jaw, placed on DL

Rhys Hoskins heads home with broken jaw, placed on DL

Updated: May 31, 3:11 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — Here’s an impressive statistic: Rhys Hoskins is 1 for 1 with a double while playing with a broken jaw.

Hoskins learned on Wednesday that he suffered a fractured jaw when he fouled a ball off his face in the ninth inning of Monday night’s game against the Dodgers. The fracture was revealed in a CT scan that was performed after Hoskins stroked a pinch-hit double in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game. Hoskins had been medically cleared to play in the game and the CT scan was considered routine.

“He is likely to go on the disabled list,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said before Wednesday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. “We’re going to send him to Philly tonight to be evaluated by our oral surgeon. The DL is likely, but we could get info from the specialist that leads us in a different direction, so I just want to be open with that.”

Hoskins was officially placed on the 10-day DL on Thursday afternoon. 

Hoskins was surprised to hear that he suffered a fracture, especially after being able to play Tuesday night.

“Obviously, it makes it a little bit tougher knowing that I can play with little to no pain,” he said. “But you have to put your health first at some point. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”

Depending on what Thursday’s evaluation in Philadelphia reveals, Hoskins could require surgery or simply be treated with rest. Best case scenario: Just 10 days on the disabled list. But seldom that happens.

“There’s still a degree of optimism, but anytime you’re dealing with [the] DL, there’s also disappointment,” Kapler said. “Rhys, I’ve said all along, is one of our better hitters and one of the top offensive players in baseball in my opinion, so it would be difficult to not have him in the lineup. He’s also an emotional leader in our clubhouse, so if he were to [go on the] DL, there would be disappointment with that.”

Despite having a poor month of May — .161 batting average, two homers, nine RBIs, .551 OPS — Hoskins remains one of the Phillies’ best power bats and top offensive threats. He hit .303 with four homers, 19 RBIs and a .985 OPS in the first month of the season. He will be missed.

Nick Williams will play left field in place of Hoskins with Odubel Herrera in center and Aaron Altherr in right. The Phillies will add a player if Hoskins indeed goes on the DL and it appears to be power-hitting outfielder Dylan Cozens (see story).

The Phils and Dodgers play the finale of a four-game series Thursday then head to San Francisco for three games.

Hoskins is the second Phillies player to suffer a fracture this week. Infielder Pedro Florimon broke his right foot on a foul ball Tuesday night. That injury will require surgery, Kapler said. The Phils brought up corner infielder Mitch Walding from Triple A to replace Florimon. 

Walding, 25, was in the starting lineup at third base Wednesday night. A fifth-round draft pick in 2011, Walding made a long journey to his major-league debut. He learned of his promotion in a 2:30 a.m. phone call from Lehigh Valley manager Gary Jones. Walding at first did not recognize the phone number and only answered after Jones kept calling.

“It was rapid-fire calling,” said Walding, who had been asleep. “Thank God I answered and didn’t turn my phone off. It was hard getting back to sleep after that.”

Walding caught a 10 a.m. flight in Philadelphia. He touched down in Los Angeles to a text from Kapler.

“You ready?” Kapler asked.

“I’ve been ready for this my whole life,” Walding responded.

At the Yard podcast: Where will Didi Gregorius bat? Are Phillies done?

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At the Yard podcast: Where will Didi Gregorius bat? Are Phillies done?

Where will Didi Gregorius hit in the Phillies' order? How will the infield defense be aligned? Are the Phillies done? Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discuss on Wednesday's At the Yard podcast.

• Surprised it was a 1-year deal?

• Why a 1-year deal carries so much value for the Phillies.

• Will Kingery play 2B or 3B?

• Could Segura be dealt?

• Where might Didi bat in the order?

• An interesting Phillies-Yankees trade idea from Jim.

Subscribe and rate At The Yard:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19

Phillies obviously better with Didi Gregorius, Zack Wheeler and Joe Girardi, but was this enough?

Phillies obviously better with Didi Gregorius, Zack Wheeler and Joe Girardi, but was this enough?

Didi Gregorius is a fun addition for the Phillies. His personality and the joy he plays with will quickly make him a fan favorite. He'll improve the clubhouse dynamic and he'll improve the Phillies' infield defense and lineup.

At one year, what's not to like? It's a one-year, $14 million contract for Gregorius, according to Jim Salisbury, which gives the Phillies an entire year to figure out their infield. Where does Jean Segura fit? What about Scott Kingery? When will Alec Bohm be ready? Can Rhys Hoskins, the most important hitter of them all, turn it around in 2020?

By tying themselves to Didi for only one year, the Phillies can pivot quickly if this does not work out, or if a second base/third base combo of Jean Segura and Scott Kingery does not provide enough offense. Bohm is the other major factor in all of this — if his defense can hold at third base for even a few years during the early part of his career, and if his power and control of the strike zone can translate to the majors, he could be the run-producing five-hole hitter this Phillies team needs.

Before Bohm arrives, though, the question is whether the Phillies' eight projected everyday players represent a contending lineup. It will likely shake out like this. Focus more on the names than the batting order because of how many variations there could be:

1. Andrew McCutchen, LF (R)
2. Didi Gregorius, SS (L)
3. J.T. Realmuto, C (R)
4. Bryce Harper, RF (L)
5. Rhys Hoskins, 1B (R)
6. Jean Segura, 2B (R)
7. Scott Kingery, 3B (R)
8. Adam Haseley, CF (L)

Given the current composition of the rest of the Phillies' roster, this looks like a mid-80s-win team at first glance. A team that projects for 85 to 87 wins with a chance to crack 90 if many things break right. 

If Hoskins rebounds. 

If Kingery becomes a valuable everyday offensive contributor. 

If McCutchen has a full season as productive as his pre-injury work in 2019. 

If the Aaron Nola-Zack Wheeler duo combines for 400 innings with an ERA in the low 3.00s.

If Bohm and Spencer Howard force the Phillies' hand by playing well.

If we see second-half Realmuto and Harper in 2020.

If Jake Arrieta can be more of a No. 3 than a No. 5.

If the Phillies find and settle on a reliable 8th inning-9th inning combination.

The Phillies are unquestionably better now than they were at the end of the 2019 season. Gregorius is a better and more impactful than the player he's basically replacing, Cesar Hernandez. Wheeler is the No. 2 starter the Phillies desperately needed. New manager Joe Girardi may be able to add a win or two here and there with good decision-making.

They are better. The question is how much better. Good enough to push the Nationals and Braves for the division? That would seem an optimistic viewpoint of this Phillies roster, but they can still tinker with their core throughout the offseason by adding another starting pitcher like Wade Miley, a high-upside reliever like Dellin Betances and another good hitter for the bench.

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