TORONTO -- Rhys Hoskins and Tommy Hunter found themselves in a bit of a jam this spring.:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::
Hoskins' college buddies at Sacramento State long ago nicknamed him "Big Fella," but Hunter has had the nickname even longer. So when it came time to choose nicknames for the back of their Players' Weekend jerseys, they compromised, even though, as Hunter correctly pointed out, "I was on the earth first."
Hoskins took "Big Fella." Hunter chose "Bigger Fella."
"He can be the Big Fella," Hunter said before Friday night's series opener against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. "I'm just going to let everybody know that I'm the Bigger Fella."
• Shop for Phillies' Players' Weekend gear
Hunter had one of the best Players' Weekend nicknames last season with the Rays: Two Towels.
"I was going to do 'Three Towels,' because I grew a little bit," Hunter said, "but I decided not to. I tried to go with 'Socks First,' because I put my socks on first, but that got rejected. I wanted to do 'Blart,' like 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop,' because Kevin James is who would play me in a movie. But I couldn't use that because of copyright infringements. And then I was going to try 'Tommy Callahan.' You know, 'Big Tom Callahan here. Discount brake pads …' [from the movie 'Tommy Boy']. But that was copyrighted, too. So after that, I went with 'Bigger Fella.'"
Hoskins' nickname for his jersey last season was "Hoskins," but only because he joined the Phillies too late in the season to choose a nickname.
"My group of college friends called me 'Big Fella.' Still do in group texts," Hoskins said. "It just kind of stuck. People have called me that throughout pro ball, too."
Bour has MRI on left oblique
Phillies first baseman Justin Bour had a MRI exam on Friday for his strained left oblique. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said it "appears mild." There is no timetable for Bour's return, but Kapler said "there is reason for optimism."
Strained obliques can be tricky. Six Phillies hitters have spent time on the disabled list since 2008 with oblique injuries. Five took at least three weeks to heal: Cesar Hernandez (five-plus weeks in 2017), Cody Asche (eight-plus weeks in 2016), Darin Ruf (seven-plus weeks in 2014), Chase Utley (four weeks in 2013), Carlos Ruiz (three weeks in 2009) and Jayson Werth (15 days in 2008).
Seranthony Dominguez dominated hitters for months following his May debut, in part because his slider seemed like an unhittable pitch. But the pitch's characteristics have changed recently, and Dominguez's results have suffered.
First, the pitch has less horizontal and vertical movement, according to Brooks Baseball. He is throwing the slider for fewer strikes, too. He threw the pitch in the zone 47.4 percent of the time in May and June, according to Statcast™. It has dropped to 34.5 percent in July and August and just 29.6 percent in his last six appearances this month, in which he has posted a 9.00 ERA. Interestingly, he is throwing the pitch harder. It has averaged 89.8 mph in his last six appearances, compared to 88.2 mph earlier this season.
"I think he's a young, developing reliever still making delivery changes that he doesn't even recognize he's making," Kapler said. "So if you see an uptick in velocity, a change in shape of the slider, it might be related to something he didn't even realize he did. It's not uncommon or unusual."