Phillies utility man Brad Miller was scratched from the lineup just 10 minutes before Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers with an oblique injury.
He had been dealing with some pain throughout spring and while running sprints prior to Saturday’s game, the discomfort intensified. Miller opted to head for the training room.
“As far as going forward, I think just giving it a couple days and just doing some different evaluations in the training room, getting some eyes on me and some TLC,” Miller said to reporters via Zoom from Clearwater, “but really, I just want to give it a couple of days after that.”
It doesn’t appear that Miller is sounding an alarm just yet. He’s hoping to be ready come Opening Day, but he’ll get a clearer picture of the timeline of the injury in the coming days. Then again, oblique injuries are complicated and could linger on for much longer than expected.
If you can recall, Miller landed on the 10-day injured list at the end of July in 2019 with a right hip flexor strain. Miller carried a .220 batting average but was getting on-base a third of the time. He was having good at-bats, but it all just didn’t come together for him yet. At the time, former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler saw Miller’s injury as a reset for him. Following his stint on the injured list, Miller slashed .263/.331/.610 with 12 home runs and 21 RBIs in 118 at-bats.
“I remember [Kapler] telling me, he’s like ‘Hey, you need to go on. You’ll be fine in four or five days, but go on please,'” Miller said. “and that’s the first time I had that where a manager said ‘Hey, the best thing for Brad Miller is to get this behind you. Then you’ll finish strong and nobody will remember it.’ And he was exactly right.”
A repeat of this outcome would be ideal for the Phillies. Miller was signed to shore-up the depth around the diamond and while he’s not expected to be in the Opening Day lineup, having him available to come off the bench during the team’s 13-game stretch against the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets is critical.
Of course, the Phillies would take another seven home runs in nine games stretch at any point this season. But first, Miller has to focus on getting healthy.
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