There continues to be uncertainty about the status of Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who is dealing with a UCL injury to his non-throwing elbow.
Hoskins may be able to return in the waning days of the season. He may not if he’s unable to improve his grip strength enough to play again this year, leaving him to opt for Tommy John surgery. A third scenario exists also – Hoskins could attempt to return for the home stretch of the regular season and any postseason run, before potentially undergoing the procedure in the offseason.
Nothing is really off the table in the case of Hoskins, who the Phillies continue to gather information on.
“My grip strength was better today than it was a couple days ago, so that’s a good sign,” Hoskins said before Wednesday evening’s game with the New York Mets. “But, as of right now, the plan is to try to calm it down, and try to regain some of that strength over the next eight, nine, 10 days – however many days we have until I’m eligible to come off [the injured list]. [I would then] try to ramp up a couple days before [a return], and see whether or not I can swing a bat normally. If I can, at that point we’ll probably give it a go, if I don’t have any hesitation. If not, then we’ll have to have another conversation of what the best plan of action going forward is after that.”
Even if Hoskins is able to briefly return in 2020, will he have to undergo Tommy John surgery at some point to fix his left UCL?
“I know surgery is not off the table, but I do know that it’s not a necessity per se, depending on how it responds,” Hoskins said. “So in the ligament, there’s basically a gap. If that gap starts to close, then we know that there is progress being made. Over the course of the offseason, or more time given through rest or rehab, that gap can close and surgery may not be needed. Unfortunately, we don’t know yet whether or not that gap in the ligament is going to close. So, once we do know that, then a decision can be made.”
Is the gap that Hoskins described a tear? Technically, yes, but Hoskins did say that such gaps can sometimes exist for athletes. Throwing a baseball and swinging a bat aren’t natural motions for the human body.
The 27-year-old did say that returning this season and having a procedure aren’t necessarily “mutually exclusive.” Though Tommy John surgery, if performed immediately, would end his 2020 season, it shouldn’t affect his 2021 season, because it would be performed on his non-throwing arm, leaving him with a shorter recovery window. Hoskins said he’s been told that it would take three to four months for him to recover from the surgery. Of course, the Phillies would prefer, if they need to go that route, that it’s after Hoskins helps the team to snap an eight-year postseason drought.
- The Phillies did place Jake Arrieta on the 10-day injured list Wednesday with a right hamstring strain. Though he was forced to leave his start with hamstring pain that he compared to the pain of “being shot,” the 34-year-old sounded confident Tuesday evening that he will be back for any potential playoff series, if not sooner.
- RHP Connor Brogdon is back from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, taking Arrieta’s spot on the roster temporarily.
- Former No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak was indeed called up before Wednesday evening’s game. He’ll take the roster spot of Kyle Garlick, who injured his right oblique Tuesday night and was placed on the 10-day injured list.
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