The Phillies are trying to get to .500 and make a run at the Mets in the National League East, but on Sunday they placed four players on the COVID-19 injured list, including the scheduled starter for the series finale against the Red Sox, Aaron Nola.
Third baseman Alec Bohm left Saturday’s game after he tested positive for COVID-19, the team said.
Nola, right-hander Connor Brogdon and left-hander Bailey Falter are sidelined because of contact tracing.
“It is what it is,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said following a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox. “It’s not like we’re surprised that something could happen. We always try to stay prepared. The guys try to do the best they can to protect themselves. There are some strands that are extremely contagious, but we had a plan today. It wasn’t like it was sprung on us at 9 o’clock this morning. We pretty much knew yesterday after the game that this was the likely scenario, so you’ve got to deal with it.”
Right-hander Brandon Kintzler started in Nola's place. The Phillies recalled right-hander Mauricio Llovera and left-handers Damon Jones and Cristopher Sánchez from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to help in the bullpen. Infielder Nick Maton was recalled to replace Bohm.
Kintzler allowed one run in one-plus inning. Sánchez pitched three scoreless innings after throwing a bullpen session Saturday with the IronPigs. It was a huge effort in just the second appearances of his big league career.
“It’s always great news when you get called up to the big leagues,” Sánchez said through the team’s interpreter. “Every time I get that opportunity, I’m going to try my best to get the job done.”
The Phillies are one of a handful of teams not to reach the 85 percent threshold of fully vaccinated Tier 1 individuals, which includes players, coaches and clubhouse staff. Teams that reach the 85 percent threshold have certain health and safety protocols relaxed.
But more relevant to the Phillies, players fully vaccinated are not subjected to contact tracing. Fortunately for them, this is happening as they enter the four-day All-Star break, so there is a chance that Nola, Brogdon and Falter will not miss much time. Bohm is expected to miss at least 10 days, as he has to test negative more than once.