Barely two weeks into spring training and players are dropping like flies with the Philadelphia Phillies. Already down two position players and a pitcher over this past week, the injury ranks grew by one more today.
It was announced this morning that second baseman Cesar Hernandez suffered what was described by Todd Zolecki of MLB.com as a “Grade 1 right hip flexor strain” while running the bases during Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins in Clearwater.
Per the Summit Medical Group: “A hip flexor strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle in your hip. You use the hip flexor muscles when you flex or lift your knee, do high kicks, or bend at the waist.”
The injury presents with pain in the area where your thigh meets your hip. Treatments requires that an athlete such as Hernandez cease all activities that cause the pain. In his case that would be pretty much every baseball activity.
Per Zolecki there is no timetable for his return. Assuming Hernandez injury actually is a Grade 1, that is the mildest version. However, these types of injuries normally take a few weeks to fully heal. Rushing back could only cause a recurrence and worsening. In the worse case these injuries can take six weeks or more.
For a player whose speed and ability to pivot and otherwise move around the second base position, this is certainly a setback. This could well open an oppportunity for soon-to-be 25-year-old Scott Kingery to get most of the playing time at the Keystone position in the coming weeks, and to wrestle away the starting job.
Hernandez turns 29-years-old in May. He is signed for this coming season at $7.75 million, and would again be eligible for arbitration next winter. He can then become a free agent following the 2020 campaign.
The native of Venezuela has six years of big-league experience, all with the Phillies. He has a career .276/.357/.374 slash line and last season produced career highs with 15 homers, 60 RBI and 91 runs scored and tied a career-high with 19 stolen bases.
However, those totals also came in a career-high 708 plate appearances. His batting average dropped more than 40 points to the .253 mark, the lowest of his full seasons. Hernandez produced eight fewer extra-base hits than the previous season when he had 131 fewer plate appearances.
Hernandez was particularly ineffective as the Phillies collapsed over the last couple months of the 2018 season. From July 30 onward he slashed just .220/.321/.332 with nine extra-base hits over his final 250 plate appearances.
The Phillies had previously lost center fielders Odubel Herrera and Roman Quinn and reliever Tommy Hunter to injuries that will also leave each of them out for an indeterminate period of time. The club has to hope this situation halts quickly as their depth is going to be tested sorely as things already stand.
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION:
- Battle over free agent Bryce Harper shows signs of drawing to a close
- MLB executives still believe the Phillies have highest offer made to Harper
- Roman Quinn injuried again, remains talented but unreliable
- Tommy Hunter becomes first Phillies pitcher lost to injury at 2019 spring training
- Odubel Herrera sidelined indefinitely with hamstring strain