The Phillies announced a batch of injuries to reporters, including Matt Gelb of The Athletic (Twitter links). Left-hander Cristopher Sánchez and right-hander Nick Nelson have both been shut down, due to triceps soreness and a moderate hamstring injury, respectively. Catcher Garrett Stubbs is headed for an MRI on his sore right knee while fellow backstop Rafael Marchán hasn’t played in eight days and can’t currently hit due to a bruised right hamate.
Sánchez, 26, has made just 22 major league appearances thus far in his career, but he notched a strong 3.14 ERA in Triple-A last year. He struck out 24.4% of batters faced at that level, walked just 8.4% and got grounders at a very strong 62% clip.
As of a few weeks ago, he wasn’t expected to be a key piece of the club’s rotation, but some recent developments have thinned out the club’s depth in that department. Andrew Painter has been shut down with a UCL sprain while Ranger Suárez has been dealing with some forearm tightness. Painter will be shut down for four weeks, taking him out of consideration for the Opening Day rotation. Suárez, meanwhile, has been throwing but it’s still unclear if he’ll be ready for the start of the season. Gelb also relays that the club is encouraged by his progress but his overall timelines are still murky.
The club should still have a strong front of their rotation, with Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Taijuan Walker taking three spots. Bailey Falter previously seemed like he would have to compete with Painter for a spot but that’s no longer the case, likely pushing him into the mix. The fifth spot could go to Suárez if he’s healthy enough to take it. If not, Sánchez would have been in the mix to jump in there but that’s probably not on the table any longer. The club hasn’t provided a timeline on his expected absence but the fact that he has been shut down from throwing with just two weeks until Opening Day isn’t encouraging.
If none of Painter, Suárez or Sánchez are available, the Phils have Michael Plassmeyer and James McArthur on their 40-man roster. Arthur has yet to reach Triple-A and only made 13 Double-A starts last year due to injury. Plassmeyer has two big league appearances and tossed 128 1/3 Triple-A innings last year with a 4.21 ERA.
In the case of Nelson, he was going to be in the mix for a job in the club’s bullpen. He tossed 68 2/3 innings for the club last year with a 4.85 ERA, 22.5% strikeout rate, 11.8% walk rate and 39.8% ground ball rate. It doesn’t seem as though his injury is too severe, though he’s been shut down for the moment. As a reliever, he’ll have an easier time getting back into game shape than a starter like Sánchez.
In terms of the catching situation, those two ailments are noteworthy for the club since they have just three backstops on their 40-man roster. J.T. Realmuto has a lock on the starting job but the Phils will need a backup. Stubbs and Marchan would be the likely candidates for such a job, since they are the other two on the roster, but they are both question marks now due to these setbacks.
Stubbs, 30 in May, was acquired from the Astros prior to the 2022 campaign and ended up having a nice season as Realmuto’s backup. He got into 50 games and hit .264/.350/.462 for a wRC+ of 128. He was recently participating in the World Baseball Classic for Team Israel but departed when this knee issue popped up. Marchan, 24, only has 23 games of big league experience and was likely ticketed for more time in the minors behind Realmuto and Stubbs.
At this point, the path forward for both players is still unclear but there are concerns in both cases. Stubbs’ injury is significant enough to require an MRI while Marchan has already been out of action for over a week. Even if he suddenly heals up, he’ll need some time to get back into game shape. If the Phils eventually need someone else to step up and take on the backup job, they have a few catchers in camp as non-roster invitees, including Aramis Garcia and John Hicks.
The Phillies have a ton of guys performing well in the WBC, which makes me nervous as a fan. We’ve already seen a few injuries. I’m glad to see Ranger tossing already, as he’s a huge part of this rotation. Phillies are real solid on paper and finally have some pitching depth, but these injuries are already testing that depth. I feel like they need another backend arm, but who doesn’t?
No real sense in losing sleep over WBC injuries, IMO. What’s to say a guy injured in the WBC wouldn’t have otherwise been injured in ST? Butterfly effect. Perhaps Stubbs doesn’t get injured in ST, or perhaps it’s something more severe that happens. Ranger’s injury also seemed like one that was gonna happen either way.
Yeah this is true, but I just think they’re playing harder than they would in Spring Training.
Agree vph, this is not like the original Dream Team, waltz in and win… A lot of these guys are playing for country….and you can’t tell me pride isn’t on the line.
Just hope the rest of the Phils come out unscathed.
Pack your bags DR. You are heading back to spring training tomorrow.
all in the suit that you wear
Edwin Diaz was carted off the field. Looks like he hurt his knee in the post game celebration.
Noah Skirrow and John Hicks, proceed to the Phillies. Do pass the 40-man, do collect your roster bonuses.
If the injuries turn out to be not season ending, the Phils could do a lot worse than Hicks for a couple months. It just means Realmuto plays a couple more games early on.
They barely played Stubbs as it was last season and he was playing well. Realmuto’s a freak at C. In the vein of athletic catchers, I wonder of IKF would be willing to play some C again? He might be a good pickup if NYY is willing to sell low.
Hey Phillies you can have Loup and Stassi, for a bag of baseballs
If the catching injuries are bad and Andrew Knapp doesn’t make the Tigers roster…I wonder
2020 Knapp will do…..
Gary Sanchez: “Ahem, still available over here. Open to a make good pillow contract. Just sayin’”
Philly needs a temp fill-in, not a full-season solution.
If the Phillies arent looking for a solution, Sanchez may be your man then, as he’s not a solution for any team as a C, either full season or fill in.
Phillies have some pitchers with filthy stuff, Sanchez has lead the league in passed balls 3 times already, yeah, let’s put the Phillies staff pitch movement with Sanchez and see how well the ball rebounds from the wall behind home plate back to Sanchez.
Oh no, not a batch of injured reporters!
Does writer’s cramp lead to flexor tendon issues?
It can result in a strained subject and predicate.
Gonna be a tough year in Philly. Don’t understand the massive overpay in $$ and years for Trea Turner.
Have you never seen Turner play? I understand it completely. It wasn’t even the highest contract he was offered.
The Cardinals have everything anyone needs. Just send pitching prospects in return.
Maybe the % of injuries we’ve seen around league are on par with most springs, but man – it feels like more this year
TB is in Japan. Call him up.
Realmuto will likely cover 130 games at catcher this year. That leaves 32 games for 2 other catchers. I’d say Philadelphia isn’t sweating the catcher situation. Now, if Realmuto goes down, it will be a catastrophic impact even if they did have a solid backup.