Phillies’ Alec Bohm sits out with sore hamstring, may be facing time on the injured list
If Bohm has to miss time, Rob Thomson said the Phillies will need to find a first base solution against left-handed pitching.
NEW YORK — When Alec Bohm sat out Sunday night because of tightness in his left hamstring, the Phillies were unconcerned.
It seems there may be reason to worry.
Bohm’s hamstring flared again Tuesday night when he charged a slow roller to third base. He stayed in the game but underwent an MRI exam Wednesday and was out of the lineup while the Phillies waited for team doctors to render a diagnosis.
Could Bohm be headed to the injured list?
“It’s too early to tell,” manager Rob Thomson said before the Phillies continued their series with the Mets at Citi Field.
» READ MORE: The Phillies are chasing plenty this season — especially pitches out of the strike zone
Thomson didn’t have an update after the game, either, other than to say that Bohm was unavailable off the bench. In this case, no news probably wasn’t good news for the Phillies, who will have to scramble to replace Bohm in the lineup, specifically at first base against left-handed pitchers.
Bohm, who leads the Phillies with 37 RBIs, is batting .265 with six home runs and a .724 on-base plus slugging percentage. He has started all but three games — 17 at his natural third base and 32 at first base after Rhys Hoskins was lost for the season with a torn ACL in spring training and replacement Darick Hall tore a thumb ligament in early April.
If Bohm has to miss time, Thomson said Edmundo Sosa would play every day at third base. Kody Clemens, a left-handed hitter, would continue to start at first base against right-handed pitchers, but Thomson was unsure who would play against lefties.
“We’d have to look at it,” Thomson said.
The Phillies are scheduled to face a lefty starter Saturday in Washington. But left-handed hitters are batting .408 (20-for-49) against Nationals rookie MacKenzie Gore this season. It may be a good matchup for Clemens.
Among healthy players on the 40-man roster, utility infielder Josh Harrison could be a righty-hitting first base option, although he has played only one inning at the position in his career. Harrison has been used sparingly. His pinch single in the ninth inning Tuesday night marked his first hit in only his 15th plate appearance since May 7.
Hall, a left-handed hitter, is in the beginning stages of a minor league assignment. He notched two hits in his first game for low-A Clearwater on Tuesday night and was slated to play nine innings at first base. Thomson said he could move to Lehigh Valley on Friday.
But Hall will need additional at-bats before he’s ready to rejoin the Phillies. Outfielder Jake Cave, the hottest hitter at Lehigh Valley, has never played first base. He also bats left-handed.
» READ MORE: Checking in on the Bryce Harper first base experiment: Are his days as a right fielder nearing an end?
Bryce Harper, who is working out at first base and could play the position later this season, hasn’t been cleared to throw to bases. The Phillies won’t rush him back to the field and risk reinjuring his reconstructed right elbow ligament.
One name to watch: Jesús Aguilar. The 32-year-old former All-Star was designated for assignment by the Athletics last week. A right-handed hitter, he’s a .259/.343/.444 hitter in his career against lefties, including .280/.362/.520 this season with Oakland.
Clemens, who got a hit Wednesday night against Mets lefty reliever Brooks Raley, has received more playing time lately because of how he’s swinging the bat in relation to Sosa, in particular. Clemens is 12-for-32 (.375) with five walks since May 16; Sosa, meanwhile, is 6-for-37 (.162) since May 10, including an 0-for-9 spell before a third-inning homer Wednesday night.
“I think he’s trying to do a little bit too much,” Thomson said. “He’s swinging and missing a little bit, especially against right-hand pitching. But I think also that he needs to get regular reps, too, to get in some rhythm and get some confidence.”
Bullpen takes the fifth
Rather than sticking with newly acquired journeyman Dylan Covey in the No. 5 starter spot, the Phillies intend to run a bullpen game Saturday in Washington. Covey, who didn’t survive the first inning in his lone start last weekend against the Braves, will be available out of the bullpen.
In lieu of a fifth starter, the Phillies are eyeing bullpen games every fifth game.
“I guess for the time being, yes,” Thomson said. “We don’t have many options.”
» READ MORE: Matt Strahm understands Phillies’ hesitance to push the innings envelope and make him a starter again
Another option came off the board when lefty Michael Plassmeyer went on the injured list at Lehigh Valley, although his 6.95 ERA in 10 starts effectively took him out of the mix anyway.
Left-hander Cristopher Sánchez tossed six scoreless innings last week in a bulk relief role for Lehigh Valley. But Thomson said the Phillies will “see what he does in his next start” before they make a decision. Sánchez has a 5.02 ERA in triple A.
José Alvarado (elbow) topped out at 98 mph in a 13-pitch session to live batters and may progress to a minor league assignment this weekend. ... Center fielder Cristian Pache (knee) will begin playing in games Thursday in extended spring training in Clearwater. ... The first phase of All-Star voting began Wednesday. Fans can cast their votes at MLB.com, the MLB App, and the MLB Ballpark App. ... “Corey’s Promise,” a nonprofit that raises money and awareness for pediatric cancer research in honor of late Phillies minor leaguer Corey Phelan, held a fundraiser at Citi Field. An organizer said more than 600 tickets were sold in two sections along the third-base line. Phelan was 20 when he died last October from T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. ... Taijuan Walker (4-2, 5.57 ERA) will face his former team in the matinee series finale. The Mets will counter with co-ace Max Scherzer (4-2, 3.54), who is 16-5 with a 2.61 ERA in 29 career starts against the Phillies.