While there’s a lot of baseball left to be played this summer – 102 games for the Phillies, to be exact – and nothing is yet guaranteed, the primary focus of the next four months will be for the players to remain as healthy as possible.

That’s because no matter how locked in as a team you are, the one thing you can’t control is injuries. They happen without warning and could derail a season. Just ask the Atlanta Braves how they feel about losing their best pitcher, Spencer Strider, and the reigning N.L. MVP, Ronald Acuna Jr.

The Phillies were already bitten by the injury bug with Trea Turner’s hamstringin early May. He’s been out of action for a month, and though we continue to get small updates on his rehab progress, the Phillies have yet to announce a plan for him to return, so it’s likely 2-3 weeks away.

They’ve been afforded an opportunity to really be careful with Turner, both because the team has continued to win in his absence and because Edmundo Sosa has been sensational as his replacement.

But when Brandon Marsh strained his right hamstring when he was rounding second base Sunday night in the 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, it left the Phillies with a little bit more uncertainty about how best to replace him, assuming he will miss some time, which seems likely, although we won’t know for sure until they announce something later Monday.

Unlike in Turner’s case, where they had someone who could immediately fill in the role, the Phillies may have to piecemeal the replacement of Marsh, who was already a bit of a platoon outfielder as it was, often sitting against lefty starters and playing against righties.

The Phillies outfielders have been mostly unproductive this season. Nick Castellanos has started to turn things around slowly – he had two more hits Sunday and is now batting .283 with an .819 OPS in his last 13 games – but aside from that the combination of Castellanos, Marsh, Johan Rojas, and reserves Cristian Pache and Whit Merrifield, have ranked in the bottom five offensively in all of baseball through the team’s first 60 games.

Take Marsh out of the equation, and it’s a lot of emptiness from the right side of the plate and no lefties to lean on.

So, what might the Phillies do? Here are four options to consider:

1. More Merrifield

This might not excite many Phillies fans because Merrifield has been underwhelming so far this season. He’s struggled to adjust to being a part-time player, something he’s never done before in his career, and he has been mostly unproductive. He played Sunday, but he was a late fill-in for Kody Clemens who was scratched after batting practice when he started having back spasms. He ended up going 0-for-4, and Thomson said he hopes to find more chances to get Merrifield playing time to try and get him going.

Here’s the exact quote:

“That’s the issue, you know? I mean, just because he hasn’t played. That’s the problem. So, I’m gonna try – somehow try – to get him more playing time.”

Whether Merrifield gets the bulk of the time remains to be seen. But if Thompson really wants to get him more time in the lineup, here’s that chance. If given that chance, Merrifield needs to take advantage of it. Because if not, it’s becoming harder to figure out what exactly his value is to the team moving forward if he can barely get on the field.

2. Kyle Schwarber

We all know Schwarber is best suited to be a DH, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if he had to play a few games in left field just to give Thomson some lineup flexibility. Maybe you go to Schwarber in left against righties, allowing you to get another left-handed bat like Kody Clemens in the lineup with more regularity as a DH against righties. It also allows the Phillies some flexibility to give other guys a day not having to play in the field but able to serve as a DH – because Clemens is a versatile infielder who can play three positions. As such, Clemens could play either first, second, or third and give Bryce Harper, Bryson Stott or Alec Bohm a game off their feet but allow them to stay in the lineup as a DH with Clemens in the field. Yes, you lose a little defense this way, but it maybe plays into the strategy of keeping players fresh and healthy better than any other.

3. Kody Clemens

Assuming his back spasms were just a flare-up and not a chronic injury, Clemens could be an option vs. righties in left field. The Phillies aren’t as fond of Clemens in the outfield as they are with him in the infield, but they’ve been trying to get him more work in case they need him there with more regularity. This could be that time, but I get the sense that they would prefer Clemens be a “break glass in case of emergency” outfielder instead.

4. David Dahl

Who, you may ask? Dahl, who was a good player for the Colorado Rockies pre-Covid, has endured several injuries and had a cup of coffee with the Padres last season before signing a minor league deal with the Phillies last offseason. He had a really good spring in Clearwater and was one of the last cuts before the start of the season. He was sent to Lehigh Valley where he has been arguably the team MVP. In 43 games for the Iron Pigs, the 30-year-old has slashed .340/.416/.660 for a 1.076 OPS. He leads the team in hits (50) and home runs (12). This seems like a no-brainer right?

Well, it’s not that easy. Dahl isn’t on the 40-man roster, so the Phillies would have to select his contract to add him, and once they do, they wouldn’t be able to send him back down without him having to clear waivers. It’s delicate. Not only that, but the Phillies would also have to make room for him on the 40-man. That would mean removing someone moving someone from the 10- or 15-day I.L. to the 60-day I.L. to create space. I like this idea, because Dahl is a lefty and can basically fill the same role Marsh was already filling and not upset the rotational apple cart too much, but the Phillies would have to be willing to keep Dahl on the roster or risk losing him, once Marsh is healthy. Unless Dahl is completely unproductive, that could be a tough call.

The Phillies can possibly get weird and try Edmundo Sosa in the outfield – something they experimented with briefly in early 2023. Or they could give Pache a little more of a run, but too many games with Pache and Rojas in the lineup simultaneously, while it might be great defensively, would be a bit of a black hole offensively.

Of course, we can find out in a few hours that Marsh’s injury isn’t as bad as feared, and maybe he only misses a few games. That would be fortunate, although the Phillies may have used up their weekly good fortune allotment with Ranger Suarez not suffering a serious injury taking a ball off his pitching hand on Saturday.