Besides arguably the Boston Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies are likely the most injury-plagued team in all of baseball. The number is up to seven on the disabled list, with one other (Brian Schnieder) missing time without being on the DL due to an injury. Instead of hearing names such as Utley, Polanco, and Ruiz in the regular lineup, the scoreboard announcers are now resigned to read names such as Dobbs, Valdez, and Sardinha on a daily basis.
But when will this nightmare end?
Chase Utley: Besides a win against the Braves on Monday night, there was other good news to come out of Citizens Bank Park. Heard from for the first time since he underwent surgery on his thumb five days ago, Utley said he hopes to be back in 6 weeks. 6 WEEKS! That’s a breath of fresh air considering doctors, baseball insiders, and even the team trainer were saying that Utley wouldn’t see the diamond until at least the beginning of September. I’m not sure if Utley is accurate, but if you average the two, meaning you get Utley back HEALTHY between the middle of August and the 1st of September, consider it a success.
Placido Polanco: Not much to report on the Polanco front. On Thursday, team trainer Scott Sheridan reported that Polanco would miss 3-4 weeks due to his inflamed elbow, and that seems to be the accurate time table. Polanco will rest for at least another couple days, and will start a rehabilitation program into the AS break. If all goes well, Polanco should be back within a couple days after the All-Star Game on July 13th.
Ryan Madson: After being sidelined the last two months for breaking a toe while kicking a chair in frustration, Ryan Madson might actually be ready to come back and contribute at the big league level. He is clearly on the last legs of his rehab, in which he is slated to throw two straight nights at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. One night of that rehab is over and done with, and even though the results weren’t great to say the least (2/3 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB), if all goes according to plan (meaning his surgically repaired toe does not fall off) Tuesday night, he should be activated to the Phillies roster by this weekend.
J.A Happ: After six rehab appearances in three minor league levels, Happ finally appears to be finally getting back to full strength. In his last rehabilitation appearance at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday, Happ’s velocity sat in the low 90′s, and his first three innings pitched were perfect. The problem is that his last two innings (4 ER), most certainly were not. With Happ, the question is not whether he is healthy again, the question is whether his stuff is good enough right now to get out big league hitters. While Happ is confident in his stuff, Charlie Manuel and the rest of the Phillies front office brass think otherwise. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Happ was activated from the DL on Tuesday, and then optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Carlos Ruiz: Ruiz looked like he was a couple days from returning, and then it was reported that he was still feeling symptoms from the concussion he endured after getting hit in the back of the head by a bat swung by Jason Kubel of the Twins. Head injuries are tricky, especially when it involves catchers, who have call all nine innings during these dog days of summer with 10 pounds of extra equipment on. Don’t count on seeing Chooch until AT LEAST the end of the All-Star break.
Chad Durbin & Antonio Bastardo: There is a lot of the unknown surrounding these two members of the bullpen that are out of action. Durbin (hamstring) and Bastardo (left elbow) are both on the 15-day DL with injuries that will take much longer than 15 days to cure. Getting Ryan Madson back will help people forget about Durbin, but Mike Zagurski’s inconsistent performance as a member of the Phillies bullpen is making Bastardo’s presence at a situational lefty missed.
: The question still lingers. Will the Phillies make a trade for an infielder to account for injures to Utley and Polanco? Time is winding down a little bit, but I still think they make a deal. The two most likely candidates still have to be Baltimore’s Ty Wigginton and Seattle’s Jose Lopez because of their ability to play both INF positions, but Arizona’s Kelly Johnson may be the surprise choice because Arizona has trade needs at positions that the Phillies have alot of depth in (Remember, the Diamondbacks were interested in Kyle Kendrick at one point last year).
: In the past, I know I’ve said that people should be patient with Phillies #1 overall prospect Domonic Brown. My original philosophy is becoming quite difficult. In 12 games since being called up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Brown is absolutely obliterating the competition. As the proud owner of a stat-line that reads “.405 BA, 4 HR, 11 RBI’s”, he is surely creating a buzz that Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth can’t be too comfortable about. It’s not just the stats. After watching him live the past six games and seeing his 400+ ft. bombs in person, the kid is THAT good. It should be interesting to see if the Phillies listen to offers for Jayson Werth at the deadline (Raul Ibanez won’t have much of a trade value due to his age, contractual issues, and most importantly, his recent lack of prouduction) .
In one word, yes. As much as the Phillies and their fans love Werth, you have to at least take the time to listen to offers with Domonic Brown assauting minor league pitching just an hour away and one level below.