The Philadelphia Phillies have suffered their first loss of the spring due to injury. In a battle with Roman Quinn for the starting job in center field, Odubel Herrera has suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain.
Herrera is believed to have first tweaked the hamstring in his left leg just prior to the official opening of camp. The 27-year-old was in Clearwater, Florida for more than a month, working out early in anticipation of the positional battle ahead.
Then during a practice session with the team last Wednesday, Herrera felt the same hamstring tighten up while he was going from first to third base as part of a baserunning drill.
Scott Lauber reported at the time that manager Gabe Kapler did not seem to be concerned. “We think he will get over this very quickly. We’re getting it checked out.”
Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic today reported an update on the situation, which has kept Herrera of action since suffering the injury:
They’re now calling it a Grade 1 hamstring strain for Odubel Herrera, and Kapler is unsure when he will make his Grapefruit League debut. Kapler said it won’t be in the next few days, though. #Phillies
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) February 25, 2019
Per physioworks.com: “with a grade 1 hamstring strain, you may have tightness in the back of the thigh but will be able to walk normally. You will be aware of some hamstring discomfort and unable to run at full speed. There will be mild swelling and spasm.”
However, as we have seen with many similar injuries to athletes over time, hamstrings can be tricky. Those types of injuries have an extremely high re-injury rate. Herrera will be closely guided and monitored by the Phillies training staff and you can look for a conservative approach in easing him into workout and game action.
This is a setback for the fifth-year player. His batting average has fallen each of the last three seasons. His OPS has dropped each of the last two years, and his extra-base total dropped from 59 to 44 a year ago despite 34 more plate appearances. He has also virtually ceased being a stolen base threat. After swiping 41 bags over his first two seasons, Herrera stole just eight bases in 2017 and five last year.
After being informed that he would have to compete for the job this year, Herrera was quoted by Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia: “My mentality is that I’m still the center fielder. All that I can control is the work that I put in on the field. The rest is up to the front office and the staff. They make the decisions.”
Now Herrera can no longer put in that necessary work. And he likely will not be able to do so for a while yet. If the Phillies should prove successful in landing free agent Bryce Harper, Herrera’s time missed would become even more critical.
Whether or not Harper is signed, the dynamic Quinn will provide plenty of competition. That is, of course, if the dynamic but frequently injured 25-year-old can stay healthy himself. In Sunday’s Grapefruit League game, Quinn had two hits, a stolen base, and scored a run.
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