To say that the Philadelphia Phillies were due for some positive injury updates would probably be the understatement of the 2019 MLB season. But they were, and prior to Wednesday evening’s Phillies-Arizona Diamondbacks tilt, manager Gabe Kapler was the bearer of positive news.
The Phillies have activated reliever Edubray Ramos, and subsequently optioned Austin Davis back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Ramos was perhaps easy to overlook given that the Phillies entered the day with seven relievers on the injured list, but in 52 games a season ago, Ramos posted a 2.32 ERA and 0.5 fWAR. The 26-year-old, who has a 4.66 ERA in 12 major league games in 2019, has been sidelined since May 10 with a shoulder injury.
While Ramos was the only activation Wednesday, he may be the first of a few in the coming days. Kapler told the collective media, including Matt Gelb of The Athletic, that the Phillies plan to activate both outfielder Roman Quinn and reliever Pat Neshek this weekend as they play a crucial three game series in Atlanta.
The oft-injured Quinn opened the season on the injured list and after recording just three hits in 25 at-bats, he suffered a groin strain in a victory over the New York Mets on April 24. Quinn has been rehabbing with Single-A Clearwater, and despite little impact at the major league level so far in 2019, he figures to play a rather large role for the Phillies when he is activated. Since Quinn last played, Odubel Herrera has been placed on the restricted list following his arrest for domestic violence and Andrew McCutchen has suffered a season-ending torn ACL. Scott Kingery is scorching-hot offensively and his speed has allowed him to play center field in this pinch, but the Phillies would probably prefer for Quinn to be in center field and Kingery to be at third base.
Neshek, meanwhile, has been on the injured list with a sore shoulder since allowing three runs in less than an inning of work at Wrigley Field on May 23. He threw a successful bullpen session Tuesday, and it appears that the Phillies plan to bring him straight back to the major league level without a rehab appearance, something Tom McCarthy mentioned was a possibility of the NBC Sports Philadelphia telecast of Tuesday evening’s game.
It’s fair to say that Neshek has rubbed some the wrong way with his preference not to pitch on back-to-back days, but there’s a reason the Phillies haved worked around that – Neshek has generally been really good for them when he’s been available. The 38-year-old was the Phillies lone All-Star in 2017, had a 2.59 ERA in 30 games a season ago and has had a few outliers that have inflated his ERA to 4.67 in 19 appearances this season.
Perhaps the biggest update that Kapler offered Tuesday came about David Robertson, who he says played catch for the first time since going on the injured list in mid-April with a sore elbow. There isn’t a specific timeline for Robertson, who is currently on the 60-day injured list, but hearing any update about him suggests that he is indeed progressing towards an eventual return in 2019.
The Phillies signed Robertson, 34, to a two-year/$23 million deal in January. One of the most stable relievers over the last decade, Robertson didn’t get off to an encouraging start to his time with the Phillies, as he has a 5.40 ERA in just 6.2 innings in 2019. The most puzzling part about his injury, though, is that his last appearance came in a 3-1 victory in 14 innings over the Miami Marlins that saw Robertson pitch two scoreless innings without allowing a hit. Instead of that being a precursor of things to come for the former All-Star, it was the last time that Robertson has pitched. Getting him back for the second-half of the Phillies season would likely provide a bigger boost to the Phillies bullpen than any realistic relief trade target.
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