It’s been a busy afternoon down at Citizens Bank Park.
New hitting coach Charlie Manuel discussed his return to the Phillies’ dugout with reporters, Jake Arrieta said that he’s probably done for the season after he was placed on the injured list earlier today, and Gabe Kapler provided updates on several players. Let’s run through all of it with some pregame notes.
It’s not good news for Jake Arrieta. He will get an MRI tomorrow and plans to shut it down for the remainder of the season.
— Dave Uram (@MrUram) August 14, 2019
Arrieta, who averaged less than five innings per start over his last six games, will almost certainly be back with the Phillies in 2020 once he picks up his $20 million player option after the season.
Kapler appreciated Arrieta’s efforts to gut it out at less than 100 percent.
“Every fifth day, despite being uncomfortable and not being able to execute his pitches the way he wanted to execute his pitches, [Arrieta] gave us everything he had, and it was genuinely a heroic effort in a lot of ways,” Kapler said.
I know these comments are going to rankle some people, but I don’t really see any issues with them.
Is Arrieta a hero? Not really. It’s just a manager throwing some support to his guy after he pitched with a tough injury.
Eflin to Start Saturday
Zach Eflin, who hasn’t started since July 27, will take Arrieta’s spot in the rotation – at least for now.
It’s been a rough go for Eflin, who had a 10.62 ERA over his last six starts before his demotion to the bullpen last month.
Opponents hit .382 with a 1.145 OPS against him during that stretch. Kapler believes Eflin is still stretched out enough to go deeper into a game.
He’s available to pitch out of the pen tonight.
Dickerson Survives Scary Moment
The Phillies haven’t had much luck on the injury front this season, but outfielder Corey Dickerson will avoid an IL stint after a Jose Quintana pitch hit him in the hand last night. If needed, he’s available to hit off the bench and play defense tonight.
Logan Morrison, who has mashed Triple-A pitching this season, will also be available to hit off the bench tonight. Kapler views Morrison as a first baseman at this point in his career, but he will primarily be used as a left-handed bench bat. Morrison is hitting .308 with a 1.009 OPS and 18 homers in 61 games in the minors this season.
Hoskins Leads Off
Rhys Hoskins will hit leadoff for the first time in his career tonight. He enters in the midst of a brutal 2 for 32 stretch in which he’s failed to knock in a run in nine straight games. Kapler is hoping the change will help Hoskins find some comfort at the plate.
“What does Rhys do most naturally? Probably see pitches, work pitchers, and have good at-bats,” Kapler said.
That’s true. Even during a month in which he’s hitting only .114, Hoskins is walking about once every five plate appearances.
Seranthony Dominguez threw off a mound for the first time since being shut down back in early June.
It was a “short pen” in which the catcher sat at a modified (shortened) distance in front of the plate. Kapler said the moment gave him “goosebumps” as he watched the session from his office. Still no exact timetable on his return.