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Phillies Nuggets: Updates on Didi, Harper & more

Didi Gregorius is in his third season with the Phillies. (Cheryl Pursell)

Ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ Sunday Night Baseball matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers, manager Joe Girardi issued updates on a variety of matters to the assembled media.

What’s The Latest On Didi Gregorius?

Shortstop Didi Gregorius hasn’t played since getting hit on his left hand in a 6-5 loss in Colorado on Tuesday. X-rays were negative on Gregorius’ left hand, with the Phillies calling the injury “a left hand contusion.” It sounds as though the 32-year-old could return to the lineup in the coming days.

“He’s gonna take BP today, he’s definitely getting closer. So, we’ll see how it goes today, maybe he’s available to me as a pinch hitter. I’m not sure until he goes through BP.”

While it appeared on Opening Day that rookie Bryson Stott could force the hand of the Phillies and end up taking at-bats from Gregorius at shortstop, there’s an argument to be made right now that Johan Camargo is the best option at the position, even once the incumbent is healthy.

Despite not having enough at-bats to be qualified, Camargo is currently tied with J.T. Realmuto for the team lead with 0.6 fWAR. How will Girardi reincorporate Gregorius into the lineup if Camargo is still hot?

“Well, I think what we can do is move Camargo and make sure everyone stays fresh. I think that’s the important thing that we will do, so it won’t be a problem. There will be plenty of playing time for everybody.”

Girardi was asked if playing Camargo in the outfield is an option. While it sounds as though he wouldn’t be against giving Camargo some time in the outfield in theory, Girardi didn’t seem inclined to do that anytime soon.

Would there be any thought to keeping Camargo at shortstop and trying Gregorius at third base?

“No, if someone’s not playing third, I would put Camargo at third.”

When Could Bryce Harper Return To Right Field?

Bryce Harper will DH for the fifth consecutive game Sunday, as the Phillies continue to manage his mild elbow strain. The plan remains for Harper to try throwing again on Tuesday.

Even if all goes well on Tuesday, don’t expect Harper to immediately be back in right field on Wednesday.

“We’ll have him build up. If Tuesday goes well, he’ll probably do some Wednesday. I mean, I wouldn’t anticipate he’ll be back in the field before the off day.”

The off day that Girardi is referring to is next Monday, before the Phillies welcome the Texas Rangers to town for a quick two-game series. In the meantime, the Phillies are thankful to be able to keep Harper’s bat — which has produced a team-leading 11 RBIs — in the lineup.

Phillies Lucky To Have Universal DH

Had Harper been dealing with this elbow injury a year ago, the Phillies would have been left to place their best hitter on the injured list. But with the addition of the universal DH in 2022, that hasn’t come into play.

“Thank God for the DH,” Girardi said. “… It’s important to have that potent bat in the lineup. You know, I’ve always said that Bryce plays really, really hard. He’s a leader by example with how hard he plays, right? And we need that.”

In addition to Harper, the Phillies have four other players — Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Alec Bohm and Rhys Hoskins — who are best-geared to be DHs. It’s fair to say, especially with Harper’s injury, that no team in the senior circuit has benefitted more from the universal DH.

Independent of the situation with the 2022 Phillies, is there any part of Girardi that misses pitchers hitting?

“Nope. Especially, can you imagine trying to build up pitchers in three-and-a-half weeks to hit? You know how many pitchers we have on the IL? More would be on the IL.”


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