Joe Girardi had four players on his bench Sunday, but just one of the reserves was healthy when the Phillies manager drew the lineup for a 10-8 loss to the Blue Jays.
And 20 minutes before first pitch, Girardi had to use his lone healthy extra player -- catcher Rafael Marchan -- when Andrew Knapp was scratched from the lineup with a sore rib cage. So the Phillies began the 41st game of the season with a bench of four players dealing with nagging injuries.
That’s why Bryce Harper, who has a sore shoulder, had to play in the sixth inning when Scott Kingery left the game feeling dizzy after running into the wall.
“I mean, I was concerned,” Girardi said about Harper swinging in the ninth inning with an injured shoulder. “We talked about some different things. And I talked to Bryce and he said he wanted to try it. He was OK. So we let him do it. You know, I trust the player in that sense and his body. I thought he had some good swings. He had a good at-bat that last at-bat. We just came up a bit short.”
The Phillies could have avoided playing an injured Harper had they made a roster move before the game. Gregorius has missed four-straight games with a sore elbow but has not been placed on the injured list, which was shortened three years ago to 10 days so teams could sidelined players without worrying about them missing more than two weeks.
Harper left Saturday night’s game with a sore shoulder and Realmuto later left the game when he re-aggravated his left wrist, which caused him to miss two games earlier this month. The Phillies considered both players to be “day to day” and Girardi said the team did not try to get a player to Florida before Sunday’s game.
“This was our decision,” he said.
Girardi left Harper, Realmuto, and Gregorius out of his lineup as the Phillies tried to get through the series finale without using them. But Knapp and Kingery’s injuries gave them five injured players and they ran out of healthy replacements.
Harper seemed to throw cautiously from the outfield in the sixth inning when Teoscar Hernández doubled. Girardi said the Phillies “just told him to get it in there.” But Harper’s bunt attempt in the eighth inning, Girardi said, was not because he was unable to swing or being cautious about his shoulder.
“He was bunting for a base hit,” Girardi said as Harper popped out on his bunt with one out and runners on first and second. “We talked about it. It’s a good idea to try to do it. We didn’t know where we would be, you know, later on. So it was recommended by us.”
Roster moves coming
Archie Bradley is expected to join the Phillies on Tuesday after he pitched an inning Saturday in a rehab assignment with triple-A Lehigh Valley. A roster spot will need to be cleared for the reliever, who has been on the injured list since April 11 with a strained oblique.
Ronald Torreyes, who was placed on the injured list after testing positive for COVID-19, played his ninth rehab game on Sunday with Lehigh Valley and should return Tuesday. The utility man’s roster spot will likely come at the expense of Kingery, who will either be sent down or placed on the injured list as the team evaluates him for a concussion.
“He’ll have to be evaluated,” Girardi said. “Obviously, as we move forward the next couple days.”
The Phillies are off Monday. ... Zack Wheeler will start Tuesday’s series opener at home vs. Miami. Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez will pitch the other two games. ... Nick Maton is the fourth Phillies rookie since 1969 to hit his first two career homers in the same game. He joined Rhys Hoskins (2017), Scott Rolen (1996), and Don Money (1969).