Another Phillies loss was followed Saturday with yet another concern about a player’s hustle, as the team’s effort on the basepaths has been called into question this month nearly as often as the team has been losing.
Cesar Hernandez did not run out of the batter’s box in the eighth inning after driving a ball down the left-field line. Hernandez, who declined to comment after the game, appeared to stay in the batter’s box and wait to see whether the ball was foul. It dropped fair, and Hernandez was forced to settle for a single instead of a double.
“I asked Cesar about it,” Rhys Hoskins said. “He said he didn’t see the ball off the bat. I don’t think it’s an effort thing, really. I don’t think he’s throwing himself a pity party, by any means. I know he’s upset at himself now that it happened, the way that it happened, but I don’t think any of these are an effort thing.”
Hernandez’s mishap came just three days after Jean Segura settled for a single against Washington after not sprinting out of the batter’s box. Segura also was criticized after he failed to run out the play in San Diego that cost Andrew McCutchen his season, and Hoskins was dinged when he barely beat out a popup against Cincinnati that dropped in front of first base.
Manager Gabe Kapler said he planned to talk to Hernandez about the play.
“Those things are definitely things that need to be addressed,” Kapler said. “They have to be addressed swiftly. They have to be addressed with authority, and they will be.”
Bryce Harper was on deck when Hernandez flared his ball to left field. It was just one of those plays, said Harper, who blamed himself for following Hernandez with a double-play grounder. Harper had made his own baserunning mistake in the fifth when he was thrown out at second base after trying to extend his RBI single into a double. But in the midst of a losing streak, overaggressiveness was a welcomed sight.
“Especially right now, you’re not going to hear me nab a guy for running as hard as he possibly can, playing as hard as he can, sliding as hard as he can,” Kapler said. “Especially right now, that needs to be celebrated.”
The Phillies could soon add right-handers Tommy Hunter and David Robertson to their beleaguered bullpen.
Hunter, who has been on the injured list since spring training, will pitch Sunday in a rehab assignment with high-A Clearwater. The Phillies, Gabe Kapler said, will then “read and react.” He is not expected to require a long series of rehab assignments before being activated.
Robertson felt discomfort earlier this month when he was trying to play catch in Clearwater, Fla. He has been out since April with elbow soreness and grew concerned.
“I definitely wasn't smiling about it,” Robertson said. “Then I waited a day and then, let's try again. And it was five throws, six, seven, 10, 15. I was like, 'Oh, it's not hurting anymore.' I figured I've gotten over the hump. I've never had anything like it before. Hope to never have it again. It's brutal to not be able to use your right arm to do anything you want to do.”
Robertson thinks he is roughly a week away from pitching off a mound. If all goes well, he would move quickly to a rehab assignment and then to the majors before the All-Star break.
“I'm hopeful,” Robertson said. “I am kind of keeping that as a tentative date that I am hopeful I am going to be back. If not then, then right after the break.”