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West Chester native Phil Gosselin has suddenly become very important to Phillies

West Chester native Phil Gosselin has suddenly become very important to Phillies

DENVER — The Phillies on Saturday placed two shortstops on the injured list.

With Jean Segura down for at least seven games and Scott Kingery out longer than that — both have hamstring injuries — the Phillies will look to Phil Gosselin to handle the position.

Gosselin, 30, signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies this winter after spending parts of the previous six seasons in the majors with five different clubs.

A local guy from West Chester, Malvern Prep and the University of Virginia, Gosselin signed with the Phillies because they were in win-now mode and he figured at some point they might have a need for a veteran who can play all over the diamond.

That need is here.

Called up from Triple A on Wednesday, Gosselin took over at shortstop when Kingery went down on Friday night. For a short time, it looked as if Gosselin, playing in his first game for the team he grew up rooting for, might be one of the stars of a victory. He came back from an 0-2 count to stroke a two-out hit in the 12th then scored the tie-breaking run on a double by Bryce Harper. The Phils were one strike from winning when Charlie Blackmon clubbed a two-run homer against Juan Nicasio to give the Rockies a 4-3 win.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the loss “brutal.”

He could have added an unprintable adjective in front of that.

On Saturday, the Phils addressed the fallout.

Nicasio was in the game because Victor Arano had a tender elbow and could not go. Kapler said Arano was tender from a massage he had last week in Miami. (We’re guessing Sparky Lyle never had that issue.)

Arano joined Segura and Kingery on the 10-day IL.

To fill the void, the Phils called up infielder Mitch Walding and relievers Austin Davis and Drew Anderson from Triple A.

The Phillies were actually leaning toward playing Segura on Sunday. When Kingery went down, they decided it was best to make sure they got Segura back to 100 percent so they placed him on the IL to avoid the temptation of using him before he was completely ready. Segura will be eligible to return next Saturday so Gosselin’s starting assignment is temporary — but important.

Gosselin, who shined in spring training, hitting .405 with a 1.159 OPS, can play all over but most of his big-league time has come at second base and third base. He has played just 64 innings at shortstop in the majors. He has significantly more time there in the minors.

“It’s exciting,” Gosselin said of his opportunity. “I think all of us in here, guys that don’t play every day, want to play every day. We all want to get the chance, no matter if it’s catcher, right field. I’ll put in some work with (infield coach) Bobby Dickerson, keep working at it, and look to make all the routine plays out there so the pitchers have confidence in me.”

Behind Gosselin, the Phillies could use Cesar Hernandez, Roman Quinn or even Maikel Franco at shortstop in a pinch. The Phils have Sean Rodriguez and Andrew Romine at Triple A if more reinforcements are needed at the position.

There was no immediate word on how long Kingery would be out. Team medical personnel was still evaluating his MRI on Saturday night.

Kapler said it was difficult to see Kingery go on the IL.

"I watch Scott Kingery play like I’m watching a family member," Kapler said. "I feel that invested in watching him play and caring about his well being. It was an enormous blow to see him having the success that we all knew he could have and to know that was going to be interrupted. He’s going to be back on the field but it was that his progress, his flow, his confidence, and his health were interrupted in that moment and that was upsetting. I’m still upset about it."

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Phillies are suddenly very thin at shortstop as 3 players go on injured list

Phillies are suddenly very thin at shortstop as 3 players go on injured list

DENVER — The Phillies' injured list keeps on growing.

As expected, infielder Scott Kingery was placed on the injured list Saturday. He strained his right hamstring in Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Rockies.

Kingery had been playing shortstop in place of Jean Segura, who also had been nursing a hamstring issue. The Phillies had hoped that Segura would be ready to play this weekend. He obviously is not because he, too, was placed on the 10-day IL on Saturday, retroactive to April 17.

Also, the Phils placed reliever Victor Arano on the IL with right elbow inflammation.

So, that's three players placed on the IL on one Saturday afternoon. Kingery, Segura and Arano joined previously sidelined outfielder Odubel Herrera and reliever David Roberston on the IL. Reliever Tommy Hunter has been on the IL all season.

With Kingery and Segura on the IL, the Phils are very thin at shortstop. Phil Gosselin figures to get significant time at the position. Cesar Hernandez has seen some time at the position in his career. Roman Quinn can also help out.

In reaction to Saturday's moves, the Phils recalled infielder Mitch Walding and relievers Austin Davis and Drew Anderson from Triple A.

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Phillies' mental and physical toughness being tested less than a month into the season

Phillies' mental and physical toughness being tested less than a month into the season

The toughness of this Phillies team, mentally and physically, is being tested less than a month into the season.

Friday night was the Phillies' third extra-inning loss in their last 10 games. At 11-8 overall, the Phils have lost twice on walk-offs and twice when their opponent was down to the final strike of the game.

Those are the kinds of losses that you don't easily forget, the kind you think back to if the race is tight in September.

The Phillies right now are wounded and fatigued. Over the last four games, they've lost Jean Segura, Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery to hamstring injuries and were forced to pull Andrew McCutchen last night with knee inflammation. They were also forced to place David Robertson, their most important reliever, on the injured list with a sore elbow.

Making matters more difficult, the Phils have played 64 innings in their last six games, an average of nearly 11 per night. They don't have an off day until April 29, then they're off again May 2. Those will certainly be days manager Gabe Kapler tells his guys to just chill.

Juan Nicasio allowed the game-winning homer to Charlie Blackmon Friday night, but the Phillies' bullpen has pitched extremely well as a unit during this stretch. Over the last six games, the bullpen has pitched 28 innings with a 1.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and .177 opponents' batting average.

No, last night's loss falls more on an offense that put 23 men on base but managed only three runs.

The Phillies, despite several painful and frustrating losses and despite poor performance from two-fifths of the starting rotation, have still played to a 94-win pace so far. 

There will be some evening out. Aaron Nola will improve, though we could also see some offsetting regression from Vince Velasquez and Jake Arrieta. Adam Morgan will not go an entire season without allowing a run, but Seranthony Dominguez (five straight scoreless outings) should be able to rattle off a few dominant stretches.

You have to look at it all in totality. This team is very talented 1 through 25 and has arrived at an 11-8 record even though the 3-4-5 hasn't yet fired on all cylinders. The talent, the depth and durability are just being challenged earlier than you'd like.

Five months from now, we will know the impact of these early tribulations, which have a chance to make the Phillies a better and more battle-tested team.

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