1:30pm: Suárez tells Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he has a Grade 1 strain and hopes to return in around 15 days.
12:20pm: The Phillies announced today that left-hander Ranger Suárez has been placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to August 16, with a right hamstring strain. Right-hander Andrew Bellatti was recalled in a corresponding move.
Suárez, 27, hits the injured list for the second time this year. He dealt with some forearm tightness in March and began the year on the IL, with the club describing that injury as an elbow strain. Despite that ominous-sounding diagnosis, he was able to return in mid-May and has since made 17 starts. He has a 3.88 earned run average in 97 1/3 innings, along with a 21.3% strikeout rate, 8.4% walk rate and 51.2% ground ball rate.
It’s unclear how long Suárez will be out of action this time, but the Phillies will have to proceed without him for at least a couple of turns through the rotation. Thankfully, they have been running a six-man rotation since acquiring Michael Lorenzen at the deadline and should be able to get by without worrying about replacing Suárez.
Matt Gelb of The Athletic reported a week ago that Cristopher Sánchez was likely to just get one more start before bumped either to the bullpen or the minors. He’s having a solid season with a 3.39 ERA in 11 starts, but the Phils just have a lot of established starters in Suárez, Lorenzen, Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Taijuan Walker. But with Suárez set to sit things out for a while, Sánchez can stick around.
That’s fine for the time being but will leave the club a bit thin on depth until Suárez can return. Prospect Andrew Painter was supposed to be in the mix this year but required Tommy John surgery and won’t be back until late 2024 at the earliest. Bailey Falter was dealt to the Pirates for Rodolfo Castro, subtracting another depth starter. Griff McGarry is one of the club’s top pitching prospects but he was recently put on the development list at Triple-A after some struggles. His last start saw him face just seven batters, walking six and hitting another, all of them eventually coming around to score and leaving him with a shocking 50.62 ERA in two Triple-A outings this year. Nick Nelson is probably the next man up since he’s on the 40-man and has a 3.82 ERA in 14 Triple-A starts this year, but his major league work has resulted in a career ERA of 5.38.
The Phils are in good shape overall, currently sporting a record of 66-56 and in possession of the top Wild Card slot in the National League. Even without Suárez, they have a strong group of five starters that can hopefully keep them afloat for the six remaining weeks of the season. Another rotation injury would start to make things feel a bit shaky but hopefully Suárez can return before that becomes a reality.