Haseley eyes quick recovery; CF battle open

Watson, Kintzler get some work; Wheeler has rocky outing vs. Yanks

March 7th, 2021

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- worked hard the past two years, particularly the past few months, to avoid the injury he sustained Thursday.

It happened again anyway.

Haseley, 24, strained the left adductor (groin) running from first to third on a 3-2 pitch in a Grapefruit League game against the Yankees at BayCare Ballpark. Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Haseley is expected to miss four weeks, a timeline that removes him from the mix to win the center-field job. It is a blow to a player who came to camp bigger, stronger and with a decidedly different mindset than last season.

“I was in a pretty shaken-up state when it happened, a couple hours in the training room after the game,” Haseley said Sunday morning. “It definitely took me by surprise. Obviously, I want to be out there competing for the job. That’s still my goal: To put myself in a position to be on the field. I don’t think there’s anything I can do now, or do more, other than take it as motivation, keep working on it and prevent it from happening again.”

Haseley had a similar injury four days following his big league debut in June 2019. In that instance, it was 19 days from the time he landed on the injured list to the time he was activated. If Haseley returns in a similar timeframe, he would have 10 days to play before Opening Day. Based on the Phillies’ timeline, four weeks from the date he injured himself is Opening Day.

“I knew when it happened that it wasn’t just something small that I felt like I could play through the next day or whatever,” Haseley said. “I felt it like the first couple steps. Kind of like a burning sensation, and then just kind of shut it down from there.”

Haseley worked hard this offseason to strengthen his core, because he thought it would help the surrounding areas, too, including the adductors.

“That’s what the most frustrating part is,” Haseley said. “Ever since it happened two years ago, I’ve been aware about having tighter adductors and that I needed to focus on them. I do daily, just prep work on it and a lot of hip mobility and stuff like that. I felt like I came into camp in a really good spot when it comes to that area. I still think it is better than it ever has been. It’s just unfortunate that it was that millisecond kind of turn, and enflamed it.”

Haseley is encouraged with how he feels 72 hours after sustaining the injury. He has been throwing, riding a bike and performing other activities. He is not sure when he will begin hitting.

“I think everyone’s goal is to be back before Opening Day, at least get reps in,” he said. “I think it’s just based on how it’s feeling. I feel like I kind of put everything into it. It’s unfortunate that it happened, but it’s also Spring Training and it’s early March. The important thing is preventing it from happening again.”

Odúbel Herrera has emerged as the early favorite for the job in center field, especially with Haseley sidelined, based on an impressive first week of play. Scott Kingery and Roman Quinn remain the top competition. Mickey Moniak has looked good early in Spring Training. Girardi said anybody in camp is a candidate to make the team, but added that Moniak might be better served playing every day in the Minors while he develops.

Watson debuts, Kintzler puts up another zero
Left-hander Tony Watson struck out two and walked one in a scoreless inning in his Grapefruit League debut in Sunday's 4-0 loss to the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Right-hander Brandon Kintzler struck out one in one perfect inning. Kintzler has allowed one hit and struck out three in three scoreless frames this spring.

Both are competing for bullpen jobs and both are on Minor League contracts with March 24 opt-out clauses.

“They know how to pitch,” Girardi said. “They’re not going to beat themselves. They’re going to throw strikes, they’re going to change speeds, they’re going to move the ball all around. They get people out. They may not strike out as many people as some other relievers, but they know how to get outs.”

Watson threw 23 pitches. Two touched 90 mph. Kintzler threw 10 pitches, with three hitting 92 mph.

They offer different looks than hard-throwing relievers in camp like José Alvarado, Sam Coonrod, Connor Brogdon, JoJo Romero and others.

“I like it,” Girard said. “Hitters are … less successful against different looks. I think Brandon’s changeup has really been good this Spring Training. And when you think about a changeup, you don’t necessarily think about power. Watty, he’s kind of a three-quarter lefty. He’s different than an Alvarado, he’s different than a JoJo. It’s a different look for a hitter, and I do like different looks.”

Extra bases
• Right-hander Zack Wheeler allowed four hits and four runs -- all on a Brett Gardner grand slam -- while walking two and striking out four in 2 1/3 innings against the Yankees.

• Fellow righty Zach Eflin will pitch a simulated game Monday morning while the Phillies have an off-day as a team. They resume Grapefruit League action at 1:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Right-hander Vince Velasquez will start and left-hander Matt Moore will follow him.