'My heart hurts': Bradley (oblique) back on IL

September 25th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- If pitches again for the Phillies, it will be in the postseason.

If the Phillies make the postseason.

If his strained left oblique heals quickly enough.

The Phillies placed Bradley on the 10-day injured list on Saturday with a similar injury to the one that sidelined him from April 11 to May 17. The Phils selected the contract of Triple-A left-hander Kyle Dohy to take Bradley's place in the bullpen. Left-hander Matt Moore was transferred to the 60-day IL to make room for Dohy on the 40-man roster.

“My heart hurts,” Bradley said Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Bradley went 7-3 with a 3.71 ERA and two saves in 53 appearances this season. He was one of Joe Girardi’s most trusted late-inning relievers, alongside Ian Kennedy and Héctor Neris. Girardi finds himself remarkably shorthanded in the bullpen with eight games to play, and not just because he lost Bradley. Right-hander Sam Coonrod’s status is uncertain because of a “thumb issue.” Right-hander Connor Brogdon (strained right groin) might not be back from the IL until Tuesday following a rehab appearance on Sunday in Triple-A.

Bradley said he felt something after pitching a scoreless inning on Thursday against Pittsburgh.

“It’s the toughest thing as a player, to go in and talk about something being wrong, because you want to play and you don’t want something to be wrong,” he said.

But the possibility certainly exists that Bradley’s season is finished, whether or not the Phillies make the postseason. Oblique injuries are tricky.

Bradley signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Phillies. He will be a free agent after the season.

“I’m not afraid to speak honestly,” he said. “Not only us making the playoffs, but I’m a free agent at the end of the year. All that plays into my head, but I was very close to not saying something and trying to pitch through it. But then it’s like, man, what if I hurt it worse? What if really one, two or three days could be the rest I needed? And then obviously getting it looked at, it was worse than I think we all thought it was. If there was any chance of me being able to pitch through it, I would definitely be doing that. It’s just not really an option at this point right now.”

Perhaps Bradley re-signs with the Phillies. Or perhaps somebody offers him more to pitch elsewhere.

Baseball is a business, after all.

“I would love to come back here,” he said. “I loved it here. I loved everything about it. I loved the guys. I think when you look at it from a professional standpoint, the core group of guys is here. You look at the rotation coming back next year. The core position players are here. I still consider myself a high-leverage reliever that has more to prove and better days to pitch ahead of him. Not that I pitched bad. I know I am capable of being better.

“I felt like this group of guys came together this year. We started something. You don't get a chance very often to look at the next couple of years and think you can really truly compete. You look at the groups of the Utleys and Rollins and Howards. I think we have a group like that here. If we can keep some guys together and maybe bring me back, it would be really cool.”