Altherr sees specialist for left wrist

Phils hopeful he's OK as outfield depth could be issue

March 7th, 2016

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Phillies could use some good news about Aaron Altherr's left wrist.

Altherr injured it Friday, when he dived to make a catch in a Grapefruit League game against the Braves at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. The wrist is in a splint, but Altherr said Saturday he does not believe the injury is serious. Still, he traveled to Philadelphia to see a specialist Monday. The Phillies have not announced the results of that visit.

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The Phillies entered camp arguably thin in outfield depth. Odubel Herrera, Peter Bourjos and Altherr projected as the Opening Day outfield, with Cody Asche and Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Goeddel projected as the fourth and fifth outfielders. But if Altherr or anybody else misses an extended period or if somebody struggles to the point the Phillies need to look elsewhere for help, internal candidates in camp include David Lough, Darnell Sweeney and Cedric Hunter.

Top prospects Nick Williams and Roman Quinn are expected to open the season in the Minor Leagues.

But if Phillies manager Pete Mackanin is concerned about potential depth issues in the outfield, he did not seem bothered following Monday's 1-0 victory over the Pirates at McKechnie Field.

"Not really because I know we have Bourjos, who covers a lot of ground," Mackanin said. "We have Odubel and Altherr. All three are legit center fielders. I know Lough is a good defender. I didn't know a lot about Cedric, but it looks like he can handle himself. Goeddel is good to see, but not a surprise because he was advertised as a good defender. He covers ground well.

"Defense to me, is so important. Especially when you don't have available your starting outfielders. Coverage is important."

No team enters Spring Training expecting everybody to stay healthy and everybody to play to their potential, but the Phillies have little margin for error if one or two don't.

Herrera is the safest bet, coming off an impressive rookie season. He hit .297 with 30 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 41 RBIs, 16 stolen bases and a .762 OPS in 537 plate appearances last season.

Bourjos is brilliant defensively, but he has hit a combined .231 with a .645 OPS the past four seasons. The Phillies believe Bourjos will bounce back with regular playing time. Altherr certainly has talent and potential, but he has only 166 plate appearances in the big leagues. Meanwhile, Asche is trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2015 and Goeddel has never played higher than Double-A.

Lough hit .201 with a .555 OPS in 144 plate appearances last season with Baltimore, and has hit .255 with a .672 OPS in 741 plate appearances in his career. Sweeney, whom the Phillies acquired from the Dodgers in August in the Chase Utley trade, played left and center field last season. Hunter has not played in the big leagues since 2011, although he has extensive outfield experience. He hit .283 with a .751 OPS with Triple-A Gwinnett last year.