Evan Phillips hits IL; elbow prognosis positive

September 23rd, 2020

Cautiously optimistic they avoided the worst, the Orioles placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday after testing revealed inflammation in the reliever’s right elbow. The transaction came a day after Phillips was removed from an 8-3 loss to the Red Sox due to discomfort in the elbow.

“We’re hopeful we dodged a bullet there,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He has some elbow soreness. That’s as far as I can go with it right now.”

Hyde did not elaborate further on the nature of Phillips' injury, only saying he would undergo more testing. The club recalled righty in a corresponding move.

Still, it amounts to the second elbow issue in a six-month span for Phillips, who was shut down this spring due to a similar scare. He ultimately worked his way back through rest and rehab, returning strong enough to make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster out of Summer Camp.

Phillips then showed flashes of dominance but proved inconsistent over 14 appearances, pitching to a 5.02 ERA and 29 percent strikeout rate but also a 14.5 percent walk rate. A microcosm of Phillips’ Jekyll-and-Hyde season was on display this week, when he struck out eight in 3 1/3 innings across two appearances and then coughed up three runs without recording an out on Tuesday.

Phillips was not made available to the media to comment on his injury as of Wednesday afternoon.

Coaching turnover
Long-time hitting instructor Butch Davis and long-time pitching instructor Mike Griffin were part of the Orioles' recent Minor League coaching turnover, along with Triple-A hitting coach Sean Berry, MLB.com has learned.

Davis spent 18 seasons coaching in the Orioles' system over four different stints since 1999, most recently as the fundamentals coach at Double-A Bowie. Griffin was in his first year as the club’s pitching rehab coordinator after 11 seasons as Triple-A Norfolk’s pitching coach.

Davis, 62, Griffin, 63, and Berry, 54, had about 35 combined years of experience coaching in the Orioles' system. They were part of a group of six Minor League staffers let go by the organization in recent weeks; the O’s hired 19 new Minor League instructors last winter as part of a broad organizational restructuring.

Iglesias update
The Orioles' starting lineup was without injured for the third consecutive game Wednesday, casting doubt on whether the shortstop can return before season’s end. Hyde said he was “hoping” that would happen, but he did not elaborate further.

Iglesias has not played since being struck in the left wrist by Charlie Morton during Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Rays. It has been a breakout yet injury-riddled season for Iglesias, who was hitting .377 with 15 doubles and a .921 OPS in 36 games. But he’s missed time due to back, shin and now wrist issues.