Phillies outfielder Brandon Marsh was activated from the 10-day injured list earlier today, prior to the club’s appearance against Washington in tonight’s Little League Classic. Marsh’s return to the lineup is excellent news for Philadelphia, as the 25-year-old has slashed an excellent .281/.367/.460 (122 wRC+) in 361 trips to the plate while playing strong defense in center field this season. While Marsh was on the shelf, he was filled in for in center field admirably by youngster Johan Rojas, who has slashed a roughly league average .286/.337/.390 in 86 plate appearances while playing excellent defense in center.
With Marsh back on the roster, he figures to return to the everyday role he occupied prior to his injury. That leaves Rojas set to spend more time on the Phillies’ bench going forward, though manager Rob Thomson has indicated previously that using both Marsh and Rojas in the outfield could be on the table as a way to get both players’ bats into the lineup while also greatly improving the club’s overall outfield defense. Such an arrangement would likely come at the expense of at-bats for Jake Cave, but Cave hasn’t made things easy for Thomson himself, posting a superb .333/.359/.639 slash line in August while splitting time between the outfield and first base.
Further complicating the club’s logjam is the eventual return of Cristian Pache, who boasts elite outfield defense and showed flashes of the offensive potential that once made him a top prospect in 53 trips to the plate for the Phillies prior to going on the injured list last month. While rostering all three of Pache, Cave, and Rojas simultaneously would be all but impossible for the Phillies to manage, that eventuality has seemingly been put off, at least for the time being. As noted by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Alex Coffey, Thomson told reporters that Pache is dealing with hip tightness, and the 24-year-old former top prospect’s timetable for return is currently unclear.
While Pache appears to be out of commission for the foreseeable future, the club offered better news on the pitching side of things, as MLB.com notes that left-hander Jose Alvarado is expected to rejoin the club tomorrow. Alvarado has been on the injured list since early July with left elbow inflammation, his second IL stint this season for the ailment. Despite the nagging injury, Alvarado has been nothing short of dominant when healthy enough to take the mound, with a 1.38 ERA, 2.30 FIP, and a 36.4% strikeout rate in 26 innings of work this season. In returning, Alvarado seems poised to join the late-inning mix for the Phillies ahead of closer Craig Kimbrel.