Phils step up without Segura ... now, what about Bryce?

June 2nd, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- Approximately an hour after Joe Girardi announced that will miss 10-12 weeks because of a fractured right index finger, the Phillies scratched Bryce Harper from Wednesday’s lineup due to soreness in his right forearm.

It was a double dose of bad news for a team that desperately needs good news.

“It’s obviously a little gut punch there with Jean,” Kyle Schwarber said following the Phillies’ 6-5 victory over the Giants at Citizens Bank Park. “And Bryce, I think we all know what the deal is there. The guy is going out there grinding. It’s obviously really nice when he’s in the lineup. The days that he can’t go, we’re going to do our thing. We’re still a really good team.”

Harper, who has been playing with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow since mid-April, said following Wednesday's win that he thinks he can play Friday against the Angels. The Phillies hope so. He is batting .303 with 10 home runs, 32 RBIs, a .943 OPS and a 166 OPS+.

“That’s the goal,” Harper said. “I just felt it the last couple days, just the soreness. Today, I kind of woke up pretty stiff. I just didn’t feel right to get in there and get it going. I didn’t want to [miss] three days or four days, instead of just one or two days.”

Harper said he does not think the soreness is a byproduct of continuing to play, or that it means the UCL is getting worse.

“I think it’s more just general soreness in that area,” he said. “It could be from anything. It could be from exercises that I’m doing or trying to build up that area. Or it could be from swinging or anything. I just felt like today probably wasn’t the best day for me to go out there and try to swing the bat.”

While Harper might be back Friday, Segura is likely out until September. He broke his right index finger Tuesday when he squared to bunt and the ball instead struck his finger. Segura, who was bunting on his own, could have surgery Friday.

Segura was batting .275 with six homers, 19 RBIs, a .731 OPS and a 109 OPS+. He not only is one of the team’s most consistent hitters, but he is one of the best defenders on a team that is ranked as the worst defensive team in baseball, according to both Statcast’s Outs Above Average and FanGraphs’ defensive runs saved.

“He’s a rock,” Phillies general manager Sam Fuld said. “He’s as steady as they come. I think, sometimes, we take for granted what he does on a nightly basis on both sides of the ball. He’s a guy you can rely upon. Not necessarily going to wow you with flashes, but he’s just steady and does a lot of great things. We’ll miss him.”

The Phillies recalled infielder Nick Maton and left-hander Cristopher Sánchez from Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the series finale against the Giants. They placed Segura on the 10-day injured list and designated outfielder Roman Quinn for assignment.

Maton started at second. He dropped a safety squeeze up the first-base line in the fourth to help the Phillies take a 2-0 lead. He hit a two-run homer to right in the sixth to cut the Giants’ lead to 5-4.

“Get a bunt sign, got to get the bunt down,” Maton said. “Guys on, want to drive them in.”

Bryson Stott started at shortstop. He singled, stole second and scored in the third. He singled and scored in the sixth, when Schwarber hit a towering go-ahead homer to right. Sánchez, Brad Hand and Corey Knebel pitched three perfect innings in relief to save it.

“The young guys did a really good job,” Schwarber said. “They weren’t overtaken by the moment.”

Once Didi Gregorius returns from his rehab assignment -- it could happen as early as Friday -- some combination of Maton, Johan Camargo and Stott could play second, although one of the players likely will be optioned to make room on the roster for Gregorius.

The Phillies could look outside for help at second, but only if it makes sense. Now is not the time to part with a top prospect for a temporary upgrade at second base. Philadelphia got Tadahito Iguchi from the White Sox in July 2007, when Chase Utley broke his hand. The Phillies gave up pitching prospect Michael Dubee, which was a small price to pay, but White Sox general manager Ken Williams owed Phils general manager Pat Gillick. Philadelphia had acquired Freddy Garcia from Chicago the previous offseason, but Garcia was damaged goods and barely pitched for the Phillies.

Williams essentially gave Iguchi to the Phillies as a goodwill gesture.

Maybe somebody out there owes Dave Dombrowski a favor -- or maybe Maton, Stott, Camargo and the Phillies will step up in Segura’s absence.