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Joe Girardi provides update on Ranger Suarez


Before Phillies camp got underway in early July, the Phillies placed left-handed pitcher Ranger Suarez on the COVID-19 Related injured list, per Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He did not make a single appearance in an intrasquad game during summer camp and according to manager Joe Girardi, it could be a while until we see Suarez back on the mound.

Ranger Suarez was one of the Phillies’ most reliable relievers in 2019. (Cheryl Pursell)

“Ranger, I think, is getting fairly close to being able to maybe throw off the mound,” Girardi told the media over Zoom Monday afternoon. “He’s still weeks away from being ready to go, but he is making progress.”

Suarez, 24, made his debut with the Phillies in 2018. In 2019, Suarez established himself as a valuable long-relief option out the bullpen, posting a 6-1 record with a 3.14 ERA in 48 2/3 innings pitched. He was in competition with Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta for the No. 5 starter job back in March and was on the verge of winning before the shutdown.

“He was knocked down for pretty long by this. You first gotta get your arm in shape to throw a bullpen but he’s getting pretty close. Hopefully, things start to move a little bit quicker now.”

It’s unclear just how severe Suarez’s symptoms were and whether or not he is in Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, Clearwater or back home in Venezuela. If he returns, he could find himself back in the bullpen, barring any significant injuries to the rotation.

According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, top pitching prospect Spencer Howard last pitched in an intrasquad game Friday in Allentown and the team has “not come to a conclusion” on a call-up date. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are scheduled to start Tuesday and Wednesday while Eflin will make his first start Thursday. Vince Velasquez is scheduled to pitch Friday. All of this, of course, could be thrown down the drain if Tropical Storm Isaias wipes out Tuesday’s game in New York.

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