Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto are healthy enough to finish the season in the Phillies’ lineup, even if they aren’t always manning their usual positions. Harper started as the Phillies’ DH on Saturday against the Rays at Tropicana Field. It was his third consecutive game at DH. Realmuto caught after starting the previous two games at first base.
Here is the latest on the injured Phillies.
Hoskins is scheduled to take his normal pregame routine Saturday. He hit balls tossed underhanded to him on Friday, which left him encouraged.
Still, do not expect Hoskins to be activated Sunday for a potential late-inning Kirk Gibson moment to put the Phillies in the postseason.
“I think that might be a little bit too much to ask,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Saturday afternoon. “I think we are going to try some BP tomorrow. But who knows, right? Stranger things have happened.”
Hoskins has a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm. He might need Tommy John surgery in the offseason.
“Try to ramp up and see whether or not I can swing a bat normally,” Hoskins said last week. “If I can, at that point we’ll probably give it a go if I don’t have any hesitation. If not, then we’ll have to have another conversation about what the best plan of action is. I know surgery is not off the table, but I do know that it’s not a necessity per se, depending on how it responds.”
Hoskins believes the recovery time from Tommy John would be three to four months since it is his non-throwing arm, so he could be ready by Spring Training.
Harper homered twice as the Phillies’ DH on Wednesday in Washington. He said afterward that it was the best his back had felt in some time. He then went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, one walk and one run scored in Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Rays.
“I’m kind of thinking of him as a DH every day,” manager Joe Girardi said. “If he feels that much better, let’s just put him there, and I can put who might have DH’d in his spot in the outfield or just change it around a little bit.”
Harper’s back has been bothering him since a series in Atlanta on Aug. 21-23.
The only thing that can really help him at this point is rest.
“It’s not like it’s a disk issue or anything like that,” Girardi said.
“Some days are really good, some days are really bad,” Harper said. “This is something that’s not going to linger. In the offseason it’s just going to get better, and [I’ll] get back to full strength.”
Realmuto returned to catching Saturday after he started at first base for two consecutive games because his left hip flexor is not 100 percent.
Realmuto could be back at first base on Sunday.
“It’s less taxing on him, playing first base,” Girardi said. “He’s pretty good at it over there. And [catcher Andrew Knapp] has been playing well, so I get both guys in the lineup.”
“I feel pretty good,” Realmuto said. “I’m definitely not 100 percent, but we kind of knew once the injury happened that I wouldn’t get back to 100 percent before the regular season was over. But it feels good enough to do what I can to help the team. We’re not playing the best baseball right now, but we’re in a spot where we have a chance to make the playoffs and do something special here. So for me it was a no-brainer to try to come back and try to help the team.”
Realmuto is a free agent after the season, so he must consider his long-term future, too. He might be the most coveted position player on the market. Realmuto and Girardi, however, don’t think playing is a long-term health risk.
“If it was something where we were putting his hip joint in jeopardy or something like that, obviously I would talk to him about that,” Girardi said. “A hip flexor is different. And J.T., if I told him not to play, he’s going to play. That’s who he is, and that’s what you appreciate and love about him.”
The Phillies activated Howard from the 10-day injured list on Friday. Girardi looks at Howard’s role as a multiple-innings pitcher, somebody who could enter a game early if one of the starters struggles this weekend.
Arrieta continues to progress from a Grade 1 right hamstring strain. He is trying to keep his arm in shape so he can pitch in the postseason.
McCutchen is not injured, but he has been limited following ACL surgery in June 2019. He started in left field in Friday’s series opener, but it was only his 34th start there in 58 games. The Phillies' need to monitor McCutchen’s knee has forced them to play Jay Bruce (nine times), Kyle Garlick (five times), Phil Gosselin (four times), Mickey Moniak (three times) and Adam Haseley (three times) in left field.
“When we saw [McCutchen] in [Summer Camp], there were some concerns and hurdles he had to get over,” Girardi said. “I’ve been actually pretty pleased with how many games we’ve gotten out of him. It’s probably what I thought. By allowing the DH, I knew that I could keep him in the lineup more, if I was to DH him some. I think that’s been advantageous for the amount of games that he’s played. He’s played almost every day.”
The Phillies could not have foreseen McCutchen’s injury when they signed him to a three-year, $50 million contract before 2019, but they could be in a similar situation next year. If so, the front office must account for that as it assembles its roster. Moniak never played above Double-A, but he started four games (three in left, one in right) from Sept. 17 through Tuesday, arguably the organization’s most important week of games in nine years.
Meanwhile, Odúbel Herrera remains in organizational limbo. He is being paid $7.35 million (prorated) in 2020, $10.35 million in '21, plus a $2.5 million buyout on a '22 club option. The former National League All-Star was arrested and charged in May 2019 for simple assault of his girlfriend. The charges were dismissed, but he was suspended by MLB for 85 games. The Phillies designated him for assignment in January, then outrighted him to Triple-A. He never made the 60-man player pool.
“It was an organizational decision,” general manager Matt Klentak said on Monday. “We added players in waves. At various times we considered a variety of different names, Odúbel included, but ultimately made the decisions that we did.”
Hembree landed on the 10-day IL on Monday with a strained right elbow. He will not throw for at least five days, which means he will not pitch in the first round of the postseason, if Philadelphia makes it.
Hembree twice spent time on the IL last season because of elbow problems. The Phillies were comfortable with his health history before they acquired him from the Red Sox on Aug. 21. Nick Pivetta and prospect Connor Seabold were sent to Boston for Brandon Workman and Hembree, who has a 12.54 ERA in 11 appearances since joining Philadelphia.
“I mean, look, we know the IL track record,” Klentak said. “This particular case, we also hired as our head trainer [Paul Buchheit], who knew him pretty well from Boston from the last few years. We had a pretty good feel for him, in general, as well as Workman. I mean, he’s not the only pitcher in the history of baseball to miss time with an elbow injury, so we felt comfortable making the trade. And now he’s dealing with a setback, and we’ll just have to navigate it."
Álvarez (testicular contusion) is not eligible to be activated from the 45-day IL until Oct. 5. The NL Division Series begins on Oct. 6, so Álvarez potentially could rejoin the team for the second round.
Garlick landed on the 10-day IL on Sept. 16 with a strained right oblique.