Knebel (shoulder) plays catch without issue

June 12th, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies closer Corey Knebel walked off the field Sunday morning at Citizens Bank Park more optimistic than he was on Saturday.

He played catch without incident, he said.

Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson shut down Knebel from pitching in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Arizona because Knebel felt tightness in his right shoulder while he warmed up in the eighth inning. Thomson said Knebel is day to day.

“It looks like at this point, there’s no structural damage,” Thomson said.

Knebel said Sunday’s throwing session went well.

“It’s encouraging, knowing that it’s not serious,” he said. “If I wasn’t able to throw with no adrenaline, then, yeah, it’d be a lot different. So it was good.”

Knebel is 2-4 with a 3.24 ERA and 11 saves in 14 opportunities this season. He has three saves in the Phillies’ nine-game winning streak. Before he played catch on Sunday, Knebel said the decision not to pitch Saturday was “just precautionary.”

“Not trying to do anything to hurt it,” Knebel said.

Knebel said he has never had a shoulder issue before. He had Tommy John surgery in April 2019.

“I’d rather be out one, two days than go on the IL,” Knebel said. “I’ve had injuries in the past and I’ve thrown through them and then I get hurt. I’d just like this not to be an injury. Being overly cautious is a good thing right now. The boys are doing good. We’d like to keep that going.”

It is unclear when Knebel could pitch again. In the meantime, Thomson said he has a host of options, including Seranthony Domínguez, Brad Hand, Jeurys Familia and José Alvarado. Alvarado was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday. Thomson said whom he pitches in the ninth will depend on where the Phillies are in the lineup.

“It really could be anybody, to tell you the truth,” Thomson said. “For me, we’ve got a lot of weapons down in that bullpen.”

The Phillies optioned left-hander Cristopher Sánchez to make room for Alvarado. They want Sánchez to get stretched out for possible starts in the future.

They will need an extra starter for Friday’s doubleheader against the Nationals in Washington.