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Notes: Kingery's slow start; calendar crunch

@ToddZolecki
August 7, 2020

PHILADELPHIA -- Just when Scott Kingery started to feel like himself, the Phillies stopped playing baseball for eight days. Kingery arrived late to Summer Camp last month because of COVID-19. The 26-year-old still had lingering effects from the virus, including shortness of breath, but he said he finally "got to

PHILADELPHIA -- Just when Scott Kingery started to feel like himself, the Phillies stopped playing baseball for eight days.

Kingery arrived late to Summer Camp last month because of COVID-19. The 26-year-old still had lingering effects from the virus, including shortness of breath, but he said he finally "got to a good point," when the Phillies had seven consecutive games postponed last week following a season-opening series against the Marlins, who had a coronavirus outbreak. The missed time in Summer Camp and the unexpected layoff might be a factor in Kingery's slow start. Kingery is batting .083 (2-for-24) with one RBI, three walks and five strikeouts in seven games.

"It does feel like it's just going to take a little bit of time," Kingery said, "but these things come back quick. Hopefully soon we can get it going again and hopefully we don't have any more off-days that aren't supposed to be there."

Phillies manager Joe Girardi planned to start Neil Walker at second base in Friday night's series opener against the Braves, but the game was postponed due to rain. The teams will make up the game Sunday with a seven-inning doubleheader. Game 1 will begin at 1:05 p.m. ET. Game 2 will begin 40 minutes after the completion of Game 1.

"I felt like I took a step back," Kingery said about the layoff. "But now it's just about building that up again, and hopefully I can get back to where I was."

Phil Gosselin is tearing the cover off the ball -- he has four extra-base hits in 10 at-bats -- but Girardi sounds like he prefers to keep him as a designated hitter against left-handed pitching instead of playing second base. In other words, Kingery will have an opportunity to hit his way out of his early slump.

Have you looked at the calendar?
The Phillies will play 36 games in the final 34 days of the season. Sept. 9 and 24 are their only off-days after Aug. 24.

"It looked packed," Kingery said about the schedule, which had to be altered because of last week's postponements. "It's definitely going to be a little bit of a grind, but the good thing is that the doubleheaders are seven innings. But, I mean, besides that, it's going to be a long time before we have another off-day."

Teams will carry 28 players the rest of the season, which should help. Teams can carry 29 players on the days of doubleheaders, too.

"It's going to be physically challenging for our guys," Girardi said.

The Phillies entered the week needing to play 57 games in 56 days. No team in baseball has done that since the 1998 World Series-champion Yankees (Aug. 3 to Sept. 27), according to Elias Sports Bureau. Girardi played on that team.

Girardi does not remember that grind, but he remembers "that we won a lot of games, so I hope it works to our favor as well."

Extra bases
• Right-hander David Robertson and left-hander Ranger Suárez were scheduled to throw bullpen sessions Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. Robertson is recovering from Tommy John surgery, while Suárez is recovering from COVID-19. Robertson said on WFAN in New York a few weeks ago that he hoped to return for the final month of the season.

"I would love that," Girardi said.

• Right-hander Víctor Arano is pitching in Allentown, but he does not sound close to rejoining the team. He is behind schedule following an offseason shoulder injury.

"There's been some good reports, there's been some small inconsistency at times," Girardi said. "I think it's normal at this time of year. I do. His velocity is not quite to where it used to be, but there's a lot of people like that in the big leagues right now their velocity is not where it has been."

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