There's no relief from injuries for the Phillies' bullpen.
With several key late-inning relievers already sidelined, Adam Morgan went on the 10-day injured list with a left forearm strain and Victor Arano underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, the team announced Wednesday. There aren't any timetables for either pitcher's return.
"It's not optimal, but we'll fight through a tough time," manager Gabe Kapler said before the Phillies continued their three-game homestand against the Cardinals. "We fought through it with David [Robertson] and with Tommy [Hunter], with Arano and [Edubray] Ramos, and we'll do it with Adam, as well."
Arano has been out since April 19 with inflammation in his elbow. He traveled to Los Angeles on Tuesday to get a second opinion from Neal ElAttrache, a noted orthopedist, and had the procedure on Wednesday. The Phillies were waiting for ElAttrache to weigh in on next steps, including a rehab plan.
Morgan said he has been managing pain in his forearm/elbow for two weeks. The breaking point came Tuesday night as he was loosening in the bullpen and began altering his delivery to compensate for the pain.
"I think that leads to more problems," said Morgan, who underwent an MRI exam Wednesday and was awaiting the results. "I'm pretty optimistic about it only because we've been managing it so long. We kind of got on top of it and got ahead of it."
Morgan has been an unsung hero for the Phillies this season, taking on a higher-leverage role in the bullpen and posting a 1.96 ERA in 24 appearances. Now that he, Arano and Pat Neshek are sidelined indefinitely, and with the Hunter/Ramos/Robertson cavalry unlikely to return until at least some time in June, the Phillies will need contributions from other unlikely sources such as rookies Edgar Garcia, J.D. Hammer and Yacksel Rios, who was recalled from triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Morgan's spot.
But Kapler said the Phillies also will need to be perfect in their game planning, especially against left-handed hitters. Morgan’s injury leaves Jose Alvarez as the only healthy lefty in the bullpen. The Phillies pulled Cole Irvin from a triple-A start after only 34 pitches Wednesday, and it seems likely he will join the team in Los Angeles this weekend to help combat a Dodgers lineup that features lefty mashers Cody Bellinger, Kyle Seager, Max Muncy, Alex Verdugo and Joc Pederson.
“It’s very disappointing," Morgan said. “Losing D-Rob, and losing Neshek and Arano and Ramos, it hurts me because I felt the pressure when those guys went down and I don’t want to put that on my guys. That’s probably one of the toughest parts.”
Hunter and Robertson are known as right-handers who’ve had uncommon success against lefties throughout their careers. But Hunter threw only his first bullpen session Wednesday since straining his forearm in spring training, and Robertson won’t resume even light tossing until next week.