Going into 2023, it seemed like the sky was the limit for this National League contender. The NL East Philadelphia Phillies had just come off a season where they won the pennant. The team added pieces in free agency including shortstop Trea Turner. It is also the first full season with manager Rob Thomson who did an outstanding job since taking over Joe Girardi’s job last spring.
While it is extremely early in the season, the team is off to a slow start. The Phillies were swept by the Texas Rangers to start the season before losing the series against the New York Yankees. A series win over the Cincinnati Reds this weekend might be what the team needs, but injuries to key players are a major concern. Let’s recap these injuries and when these players might return.
Former National League MVP Was Already Out
The Phillies’ best player and 2021 National League MVP, Bryce Harper, underwent Tommy John surgery just days after the 2022 World Series. He is expected to come back sometime in the first half of this season, but he is at least a month away from returning to the lineup.
The franchise cornerstone for years to come had plenty of clutch hitting during last year’s postseason run. His game-winning home run against the San Diego Padres clinched the NLCS for the Phillies. Due to the elbow injury, he got off to a slow start during the 2022 regular season but still finished with a .286 batting average, 18 home runs, 65 RBIs, and 63 runs.
Multiple Injuries At First Base
Another fan favorite and long-time player on the Phillies, Rhys Hoskins, is out for the year with a knee injury. Hoskins suffered a non-contact ACL tear in a late March spring training game and had it surgically repaired. Hoskins’ power in the lineup will surely be missed. The 2014 draft pick hit 30 home runs a year ago, second most on the team.
The replacement for Rhys Hoskins will also be out for a substantial amount of time. Darick Hall who made his MLB debut last June suffered a thumb injury in a game against the New York Yankees sliding into second base. His injury requires surgery, which means he is out until at least July. Philadelphia has moved third baseman Alec Bohm to first base for the time being and called up Kody Clemens as depth for the position.
Several Pitchers Out As Well
The Philadelphia Phillies are also dealing with several injuries to starting pitchers. Ranger Suarez is dealing with a forearm injury and is throwing bullpen sessions before a brief minor-league rehab assignment, which starts soon. Suarez was very effective in 2022 earning a win in ten of his starts with a 3.65 earned run average.
2021 draft pick Andrew Painter suffered an elbow sprain during spring training this year and is still not throwing yet. Fans will have to wait to see their top pitching prospect. Relief pitcher Noah Song who previously pitched within the Boston Red Sox system and Naval Academy is out with a back injury.
Pitching has been a surprising weakness for the reigning NL Champions. Through nine games, Phillies pitchers collectively have a 5.68 ERA, the fourth-worst in the MLB. Their top starters Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler are off to slow starts and the bullpen has struggled.
It is a long baseball season, so despite the team’s slow start, the entire season is still in front of the Phillies. In 2022, the team was just 22-29 on June 3rd before getting on a hot streak when Thomson replaced Girardi as manager.
This year’s turnaround could come when Bryce Harper returns as the designated hitter. Harper along with several of the other current injured Phillies will return this season. This could be what they need to get back to winning and back atop the National League.
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