The Phillies’ crowded center field battle just got a little less crowded.
At least for now.
Following today’s 3-0 Grapefruit League win over the Pirates, manager Joe Girardi began his postgame Zoom session by revealing Adam Haseley will miss at least four weeks with a left groin strain.
“He’s really disappointed, and he worked really hard this winter,” Girardi said. “He was playing really well and was moving extremely well, and it’s disheartening for him and frustrating.”
The injury will almost certainly take Haseley out of the mix for an Opening Day roster spot.
He arrived in camp noticeably bigger and stronger thanks to a dedicated offseason workout plan, and the early returns were promising. Haseley homered in his first at-bat of the spring and had reached base in four of his first nine plate appearances.
“I told him, ‘Look, we loved the way you were playing. Make sure that you are healthy, let’s not rush this back. Let’s make sure that you are healthy, because if you do it again, it’s going to be worse than the first time, and then you’re going to be out even longer.'”
According to Girardi, Haseley injured his groin running on a 3-2 pitch during Thursday’s game against the Yankees.
With Haseley sidelined for at least the next month, the door cracks further open for Scott Kingery, Roman Quinn, and, of course, Odubel Herrera.
“I mean Scott has been a big part of that conversation from day one,” Girardi said. “We’re looking for someone to step up and take control of this. Roman Quinn swung the bat extremely well today — he had a double and he lined out. So all of these guys are competing at a pretty high level right now, and we’re just going to have to let it play out.”
Girardi was also directly asked if Haseley’s injury improves Herrera’s chances of making the Opening Day roster.
“I think that there’s less competitors, but you still have to go perform is the bottom line,” he said. “I would tell all of these guys don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, worry about what you are doing.”
That may be short of a ringing endorsement, but simple math shows Herrera’s odds of being at Citizens Bank Park on April 1 are better today than they were yesterday.
It’s probably also fair to assume that following a multi-hit game Thursday, his chances improved from where they stood Wednesday.
The Phillies will field a right-handed heavy lineup. Currently, Didi Gregorius and Bryce Harper are the only projected everyday starters who hit from the left side.
Haseley’s injury would seem to further highlight the need for another left-handed outfield bat.
Maybe that comes from Quinn, who has shown flashes of talent but hit just .213 last season.
Maybe, if the Phillies decide they have reached a comfort level with bringing back Herrera, and he continues his strong start, that bat comes from a guy who not many people thought could possibly make the team just two short weeks ago.