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Bruce to rehab, Neshek hurting, Franco demoted

Jay Bruce expects to return to the Phillies once rosters expand. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Phillies are coming off of a deflating series in Miami against the last place Marlins. Even with the series loss, they are just 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. As we get closer to September’s roster expansion, here’s an update on a couple of injured Phillies working their way back from injury and more on Maikel Franco getting sent down again.

Jay Bruce

Bruce became a mainstay in the Phillies lineup after being acquired, but injuries have kept the veteran outfielder sidelined. He returned from the injured list on August 8 after missing about three weeks with an oblique strain. It didn’t take long for him to hit the IL again as he was placed on the 10-day with a left flexor strain on August 9. Gabe Kapler told reporters, including The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, that Bruce is going to play for Double-A Reading on Friday and Saturday. Bruce is expected to be active when the rosters expand on September 1. He’ll be a pinch-hitter, per Kapler, for now. No throwing is planned for Bruce at the time.

In 34 games for the Phillies, Bruce is slashing .250/.266/.550 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs.

Pat Neshek

Neshek, 38, has been out of action since the middle of June with a hamstring injury. The hamstring continues to be an issue for him, per Matt Breen of, and he is considering surgery or a platelet-rich plasma injection (PRP). Either of those options would end his season.

The veteran hurler is in the final year of his contract with the Phillies. He has a $7 million team option for 2020 with a $750,000 buyout if the Phillies don’t want to bring him back at that price or at all. After posting a 1.12 ERA with the Phils in 2017 and a 2.59 ERA in 30 appearances in 2018, Neshek posted a 5.00 ERA in 18 innings this season out of the bullpen.

Maikel Franco

Bryce Harper has returned from a brief paternity leave, so Maikel Franco is headed back down to the minors. Franco was brought up prior to the Phillies’ series against Miami to fill Harper’s spot on the roster. He went 2-for-6 with a double, three runs socred and an RBI, but had a costly error during the third inning of Friday’s 19-11 loss.

As for why Franco was sent to Triple-A instead of Sean Rodriguez. Kapler explained to the media, which included Scott Lauber of, that a three-year look at their respective numbers shows Rodriguez is better off the bench against left-handed pitchers. Franco’s lack of positional versatility also doesn’t translate well into a bench role for the Phillies. Although Rodriguez has better splits against LHP’s, he has one hit in his last 19 at-bats in August with 10 strikeouts.


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