'Can't make it up': Wheeler injured by pants

September 11th, 2020

Add Zack Wheeler to the long list of weird baseball injuries.

The Phillies right-hander hurt a fingernail on his pitching hand … while putting on pants.

"Can't make this up," Phillies manager Joe Girardi said of Wheeler's injury.

Wheeler lost his balance while putting on his jeans Wednesday night, and the nail caught the lip of the belt buckle area and partially lifted off the nail bed, causing blood and soreness. The Phillies’ training staff has reached out to specialists in an effort to prevent Wheeler from losing the nail, and, as of Friday afternoon, the team was not certain when Wheeler will be able to properly grip the ball and throw.

Manager Joe Girardi had initially hoped Wheeler would be available in the rotation as soon as Monday, but Wheeler’s status is very much in question.

“It really depends on how it responds to treatment and the soreness and what happens to the nail,” Girardi said. “We’ve talked to hand people and surgeons to try to figure out what the best course is to try to save the nail and get rid of the inflammation and pain as soon as possible.”

Wheeler, off to a great start in his first season with the Phillies, said he has dealt with an issue in which the fingernail becomes partially disconnected from the nail bed due to his pitch grip virtually every year since his junior year of high school. He has seen specialists, used nail hardener to prevent cracking and basically learned to manage the discomfort over the years.

“I’ve had a couple close calls where it almost got caught on things,” he said. “The other day it finally happened.”

Wheeler could not offer any guesses as to whether he’ll be able to put enough pressure on the finger to throw again this season.

“I’m going to do everything possible to pitch this year,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t know. I guess we’ll wait and see. My goal is to get out there as soon as I possibly can. Whether it hurts a little bit or isn’t all the way healed doesn’t matter. My goal is to get out there and pitch.”