It’s not clear at the moment just how long Hunter will be sidelined, but skipper Gabe Kapler says the belief is it isn’t a serious injury, as Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Saying the team is acting “conservatively,” Kapler explained that there are no “long-term concerns” at the moment.
Hunter is expected to play a key role in the Phillies pen after joining the organization on a surprisingly hefty two-year deal over the winter. He was promised $18MM after a strong 2017 season in which he not only worked to a productive 2.61 ERA in 58 2/3 innings but ran up a career-high 9.8 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9.
The early returns have not exactly been exciting, though it’s certainly not worth rushing to any conclusions. Hunter managed only one strikeout and allowed three earned runs in his 4 1/3 Grapefruit League frames.
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While the injury to Hunter leaves the Phillies down another arm, after already losing a few hurlers to open the year, it does clear space for Jake Thompson. The younger righty, once considered a promising rotation prospect, had shown some promise in camp. He’ll likely be joined in the bullpen by 23-year-old Victor Arano, who’ll get his first full crack at the majors.