Hoskins passes first big test after offseason knee surgery


CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The first test is out of the way for Rhys Hoskins. 

He made his Grapefruit League debut Friday against the Tigers and went 2 for 2 with a walk as the designated hitter. He'll have Saturday off and will start at first base Sunday in Dunedin against the Blue Jays.

Hoskins had offseason surgery on his right meniscus. The Phillies took it slow with him the first few weeks of camp and he didn't appear in their first seven spring training games.

He came away from his first game action since November feeling healthy.

"It definitely felt good to be out there," he said. "There's only so much you can do without playing in a game. You can only do so much on the back fields. There's no substitute for live action. You've got to get the first out of the way and now we just go play."

Hoskins was glad to reach base three times, not just for the obvious reasons but because it gave him a sense of how much he can push it.

"Making a move that I'm not necessarily trying to plan out or what it's going to be, and just realizing, 'Hey, you're OK,'" he said. "Anxious for sure just to get out there, but I know I'll be fine."

The season ahead is the most important of Hoskins' career. He becomes a free agent after the 2023 World Series and the Phillies, to this point, have appeared willing to let things play out.


Hoskins is coming off of a 30-homer season, 33-double season, both the second-most of his career behind his first full season, 2018, when he hit 34 homers and 38 doubles. His offensive profile has changed over the years. From 2017-20, he hit .240/.366/.495. The last two seasons, he's hit .246/.333/.489. He's shown more aggressiveness early in counts, seeing 4.28 pitches per plate appearance the last two years compared to 4.48 in his first four.

After beginning the postseason 1 for 18 and hearing some boos, Hoskins had a huge moment in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Braves, hitting a three-run homer off of Spencer Strider to break open a Phillies win. He went on to hit four home runs in the NLCS against the Padres. The Phillies made it all the way to Game 6 of the World Series in Houston, where their season ended.

"We got a taste of the best kind of baseball last year," he said. "Just being in camp for a couple weeks now, it feels like a lot of us had the same type of approach to our offseason and to the work here in camp. We know that we're capable of getting to the World Series and playing late into November. Obviously, the goal is to win it and it started in the offseason."