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Notes: Álvarez to IL; relievers work to return

@ToddZolecki
August 21, 2020

The Phillies placed left-hander José Álvarez on the 10-day injured list Friday with a testicular contusion. He was drilled with a 105.3 mph line drive in Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, N.Y. Álvarez has been the team’s best reliever this season, posting a 1.42

The Phillies placed left-hander José Álvarez on the 10-day injured list Friday with a testicular contusion. He was drilled with a 105.3 mph line drive in Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, N.Y.

Álvarez has been the team’s best reliever this season, posting a 1.42 ERA in eight appearances. Manager Joe Girardi said they hope to know in the next couple of days if Álvarez will be back in 10 days, or if he will need more time.

Left-hander JoJo Romero has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Álvarez’s place on the roster. Romero could be the Phillies’ No. 2 left-hander behind Adam Morgan.

Internal bullpen reinforcements
Left-hander Ranger Suárez is working his way back following a difficult bout with COVID-19. He threw a simulated game on Wednesday at the team’s alternate training site in Allentown, Pa. He is scheduled to throw another simulated game on Saturday.

“The game that he threw [Wednesday], he threw well,” Girardi said. “They actually had to add hitters, because he didn’t throw enough pitches. I think he’s going to have to have a few more outings, because he’s really only pitched in one game situation, and most of our relievers got three or four. But he’s a lot closer than he was than when he was sitting there in Clearwater, [Fla.], and we weren’t sure what was going to happen.”

Suárez went 6-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 37 relief appearances last season. He could help the bullpen.

Right-hander David Robertson is trying to return following Tommy John surgery last summer. He threw a bullpen session Wednesday in Allentown. He is scheduled to face live hitters on Saturday.

Harper needs a break
Bryce Harper did not start Friday, but Girardi said he is healthy.

“He’s dog tired and he’s beat up,” Girardi said. “He’s played every game, almost every inning. A doubleheader yesterday. He’s on base all the time. I saw him after the game. He looked exhausted to me. He did not ask for a day off. You don’t ever want to give him a day off, he’s so good. But I just felt like at some point you start to risk injury, and we can’t afford for him to go down.”

Spencer or Vinny?
Girardi said the Phillies have not determined if right-hander Spencer Howard or right-hander Vince Velasquez will make the next turn in the rotation. Both started in Thursday’s doubleheader. Both are expected to throw a bullpen session Saturday.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .