Trailing 7-0 after three innings against the Cubs today, the Phillies ended up rolling to a 17-8 blowout win. It wasn’t a perfect day for the Phillies, however, as J.T. Realmuto is “sore” after being hit by a pitch in his left elbow/triceps area, manager Joe Girardi told NBC Sports’ Jim Salisbury and other reporters. X-rays were negative on Realmuto though he might be held out of the lineup tomorrow as a precaution.
Realmuto already had to hit out Tuesday’s game after receiving an injection in his bothersome right shoulder, and needless to say, the Phillies can hardly afford to lose one of their best hitters while in the thick of the playoff race. Realmuto was 1-for-4 with two RBI in today’s victory, bumping his slash line up to .267/.353/.443 over 479 plate appearances this season.
The latest from Philly….
- “It’s been frustrating basically the whole year with what’s going on,” Didi Gregorius told Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer, as the shortstop said a misdiagnosed elbow injury and then lingering elbow soreness have led to his underwhelming performance. Gregorius spent over six weeks of the season on the injured list due to a form of arthritis in his right elbow known as pseudogout, though he was initially listed as having only an elbow impingement, and the pseudogout diagnosis wasn’t known until Gregorius had already missed around three weeks. Even after returning from the IL on July 2, the Phillies shortstop said he continues to feel lingering soreness in his elbow. Gregorius said his personal doctor felt that a COVID-19 vaccine could be responsible for the elbow issues, as Gregorius said the soreness developed shortly after he was vaccinated in late April. However, Gregorius also noted that his doctor “didn’t give me like 100%” certainty that the vaccine was the cause, and Breen quotes two other medical experts who state that there was little to no evidence that vaccination would lead to gout or pseudogout, and certainly not a case that continues to linger for months. (Breen writes that the Phillies “declined to comment on Gregorius’ claim about the vaccine.”) Gregorius’ own doctors have recommended an arthroscopic procedure to fix his elbow once and for all, though somewhat curiously, Gregorius hasn’t yet discussed offseason treatment plans with the Phillies or their medical staff. Gregorius came into today’s action hitting only .217/.276/.377 over 351 plate appearances.
- In another COVID-related item, the Phillies announced that 85% of players and staff at the big league and Triple-A levels have been fully vaccinated. This meets the league threshold for relaxed coronavirus protocols, such as less social distancing within the clubhouse and less travel restrictions. The exact number of MLB teams to meet the 85% threshold isn’t officially known, though the Phils are known to be one of the last teams to reach that number.
- Hector Neris is a free agent this winter but “I have been available all the time” for a potential reunion with the Phillies, the reliever tells The Athletic’s Matt Gelb. The struggling Phils bullpen figures to undergo a major overhaul, so re-signing Neris could be a possibility just because he has pitched well on the whole this year, if not well enough to keep his job as closer back in June. Neris has posted a very strong 31.4% strikeout rate but a below-average 9.5% walk rate while posting a 3.39 ERA over 63 2/3 innings. Neris is open about pitching in any bullpen role with his next team, saying “You have to try to help the team where you are….If you are flexible, if you are a guy a team can use everywhere, you are more valuable.”