PHILADELPHIA – Rhys Hoskins' season is finished with 36 games to play.
And nobody knows when Zach Eflin will pitch again.
The Phillies suffered two significant blows to their postseason chances on Thursday. Hoskins said he will have season-ending surgery as early as next week to repair a tear in his lower abdomen, an injury he had been quietly playing through this season.
Hoskins always planned to have surgery after the season, but the injury worsened over the past few weeks as he suffered and recovered from an injured left groin. Hoskins returned from the 10-day injured list on Sunday. He said he hoped to play through the pain as the Phillies chased their first postseason berth since 2011.
“It just didn’t go as planned,” said Hoskins, sitting in the dugout at Citizens Bank Park. “It’s frustrating. It’s upsetting. I think just the magnitude of where we are as a team, with the time of year, right? You as a player, as a competitor, want to be able to be out there to help your team as much as you can. Obviously, there’s been a lot of effort the last couple weeks to try to make sure that was an option. Unfortunately, sometimes the body just doesn’t respond.”
Essentially, the abdomen and groin injuries are related. So, while Hoskins said the groin injury had “kind of healed” the past couple weeks, the pain in the abdomen had worsened.
“Just the way the body works, there’s other things around places of injury to try to pick up the slack,” he said.
Hoskins homered three times in his only two starts before the Phillies returned him to the 10-day injured list. Clearly, he could still hit. In fact, he said if the Phillies had a designated hitter “there would have been a lot of effort to do that.”
But Hoskins could not play in the field. He could not run. He fell to the dirt trying to move to his right to catch a ground ball in the fourth inning in Wednesday’s loss to the Rays. Phillies manager Joe Girardi said they considered removing Hoskins from the game. But he remained and he hit a game-tying homer in the eighth.
“It never really hurt to hit,” he said.
Hoskins said he had no regrets trying to come back and play because even though the injury worsened upon his return, he knew it would not affect his long-term prognosis.
“It was a risk that we were willing to take,” he said.
Hoskins said recovery from surgery is six to eight weeks, which means he should be ready to play by Spring Training. Interestingly, the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at the end of the season, so there could be a DH in both leagues next season. There is some talk that Alec Bohm could move from third base to first base if that happens, but some see Bohm ultimately moving to left field.
Hoskins said he hopes to remain at first base.
“I’ve found it tougher to be a DH than to play in the field,” he said. “I just think being on the field, you’re more in the rhythm of the game. Full time, I would fight to be in the field as much as I can, but I think the way that most teams utilize it is a way to get guys off their feet sporadically throughout the year. We don’t know if it’s going to happen. We don’t know which way the organization would see as best, but that’s obviously a bridge we can cross when we get there.”
Brad Miller started at first base on Thursday. Girardi declined to say if Bohm could be recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, although a platoon at first with Bohm and Miller seems to make sense. Girardi told Freddy Galvis to take ground balls at first, but it is difficult to imagine him playing there on an everyday basis.
“We have some different ideas,” Girardi said.
The Phillies activated Eflin from the IL on Thursday following a five-week recovery from tendinitis in his right knee. He went through his pregame preparation to start on Thursday, but Girardi said the knee flared up, so they scratched him.
Left-hander Matt Moore started instead.
The Phillies will evaluate Eflin’s status in the next couple days.
“He was recovering well after his work and after his starts,” Girardi said. “He recovered fine. … He thought it would ‘treat out’ [today] like it does a lot of times and it just didn’t.”
The Phillies activated left-hander José Alvarado from the IL and designated right-hander Chase Anderson for assignment.