Scott Kingery was out of the Phillies' starting lineup for the third straight game Friday night. Rookie Alec Bohm got his second straight start at third base and veteran Jean Segura moved over to second, where Kingery had been the starter for 12 of the team's first 13 games.
After opening the season with just four hits in his first 40 at-bats, Kingery is back in the super-utility role that he filled in 2018 and 2019. He was eager to land in one spot this season, but his slump forced the Phillies to look for more offense, hence Bohm's promotion and Segura's move to second.
Kingery was hit hard by COVID-19 in June. He was cleared to play by doctors, but lingering effects may have played a role in his slow start.
In recent days, questions of whether Kingery has been playing with an injury have been raised. Manager Joe Girardi shot down those questions on Friday afternoon, but Kingery did not later in the day.
"Uh, well ... I mean ... there was a shoulder thing and a back thing," Kingery said. "The back thing led to the shoulder thing, which was affecting me a little bit. Obviously hitting-wise that also plays a factor into it. But the back thing — I don't know if it's related to COVID or if it was me missing 10 days of summer camp and jumping right back into things. I might have tweaked something in the process of coming back faster than normal. There was the back thing. Very tight. It led to a lot of pressure being put on my shoulder, so that's been kind of nagging at me. But no, nothing serious, nothing structurally. Just some stuff that was bugging me."
Kingery said his left shoulder had been bugging him. He may have aggravated the shoulder trying to make a diving play in the hole behind Zack Wheeler on Tuesday night. Kingery landed hard on his outstretched arm/shoulder and was unable to make the play.
Girardi indicated that Kingery was out of the lineup not because he was hurting but because he was working on some things.
"I think he's dealt with some of his symptoms, you know, fatigue at times," Girardi said. "Is there anything really bothering him? No. He feels good, but we're just trying to get him some work and get him back on track."
According to sources, the Phillies considered putting Kingery on the IL when Bohm was called up Thursday. The Phils decided, instead, to put Adam Haseley on the IL with a wrist injury. With Haseley out, Kingery becomes the next man up in center field should Roman Quinn need a blow. Kingery played 61 games in center field last season but has concentrated solely on second base this season. He'll need some reacclimating out there.
Kingery was hoping to play one position — his natural second base — this season. One never knows, he might end up back there at some point, but if Bohm hits at third and Segura hits at second, well, Kingery might be back in a utility role for a while.
"I was very excited, obviously, finally being able to play second base. Super excited," Kingery said. "Obviously, the original spring training got shut down. I got COVID, came to summer camp late. We started the season and that got shut down for a little bit. And obviously, I'm not performing like I would like to, and it's frustrating.
"I just think everything's amplified because there's no time to figure things out this year. It's a sprint. There's really no time to waste so I come in and don't perform for the first 10 games, things change. And I completely understand that. With a 162-game season, you have a little bit more leeway to have a slow start, but I completely understand that this year's different."
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