Before the Philadelphia Phillies open a four-game weekend set with the division-rival New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park, manager Joe Girardi issued injury updates on two players that would have been on the Opening Day roster if they hadn’t been injured.
In what was scheduled to be his final at-bat of Spring Training, Mickey Moniak suffered a broken right hand after being hit with a ball on April 6 in Tampa Bay.
The former No. 1 overall pick was given a four-to-six week timeline when he initially suffered the injury. It sounds as though Moniak will get some clarity on his status in the coming days.
“He’s getting close to, I think he might be at the four-week mark. They said four-to-six weeks. It’s definitely healing, it’s pretty close,” Girardi said Thursdy. “He’s doing light swings with a short bat. … He’s doing a lot more. I don’t have an exact date on rehab yet. But he’ll be doing a lot more next week.”
Girardi admitted before the Phillies defeated the Oakland Athletics on Opening Day that had Moniak not suffered the injury, he would have been the starting center fielder for the first game of the season. It’s unclear now what the plan is for the 23-year-old once he gets healthy.
Part of the reason that the door was open for Moniak to be the Opening Day center fielder was because Odúbel Herrera was dealing with an oblique injury. Herrera has since returned and had a 1.058 OPS in 10 games.
Herrera is far from a perfect player, but for as many frustrating moments as he’s going to produce, he’s also the type of hitter that can get hot for a week and carry your lineup. Given that he has a $1.75 million Major League contract for the 2022 season, the guess here is that the Phillies probably would prefer to keep him in the organization. It’s possible — if not probable — that he would clear waivers, but if he’s playing well when Moniak is ready to return, that will be a moot point.
The Phillies could option Matt Vierling in favor of Moniak, but that would leave them without a right-handed hitting option that can play center field. Vierling is hitting just .182 so far, but he’s got a 50% hard hit percentage and offers positional flexibility.
While Moniak homered six times and drove in 11 runs in just 37 Spring Training at-bats, he may need to force the hands of the Phillies again during his rehab stint to avoid being optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley when he returns. Position players can be on rehab stints for as long as 20 days, and it’s possible that the Phillies will take advantage of that when Moniak is ready. In those 20 days, an injury or slump could answer the question of how to proceed in center field itself.
Meanwhile, reliever Sam Coonrod has been sidelined with a right shoulder strain since late March. Coonrod is currently on the 60-day injured list, but it sounds as though he’s making progress.
“He’s actually getting stronger, a lot stronger than he was in the area that he needed to strengthen,” Girardi said. “He’s starting to throw bullpens, I believe. So we’re actually really happy with the progress that he’s making. I don’t have a date for when he’ll go on a rehab [assignment] yet, but they’ve been really pleased.”
Though he was inconsistent (4.04 ERA, 3.71 FIP) in his first season with the Phillies, Coonrod looked like a legitimate late-inning option when things were going well for him in 2021. When healthy, the 29-year-old would be a welcome addition to a bullpen that’s improved from the historically-bad unit it was the past two seasons, but still has a 4.60 ERA so far in 2022.
Here are the lineups for Game 1 of a four-game weekend set between the Phillies and Mets.
- Brandon Nimmo, CF
- Starling Marte, RF
- Francisco Lindor, SS
- Pete Alonso, 1B
- Eduardo Escobar, 3B
- Jeff McNeil, 2B
- Mark Canha, LF
- Dominic Smith, DH
- Tomás Nido, C
Taijuan Walker, P
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Alec Bohm, 3B
- Bryce Harper, DH
- Nick Castellanos, RF
- J.T. Realmuto, C
- Rhys Hoskins, 1B
- Jean Segura, 2B
- Odúbel Herrera, CF
- Johan Camargo, SS
Aaron Nola, P
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