It took nearly the entire season, but the Phillies’ vaccination rate climbed Wednesday to the 85% threshold, enabling them to enjoy relaxed COVID-19 health and safety protocols for the final three weeks of the season.
Players and staff will no longer be required to wear tracking devices. General manager Sam Fuld said this allows the athletic trainers to focus more on their traditional duties instead of managing the team’s close-contact system. The Phillies can bring more coaches and staff around the team, which is why Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel were on the field during batting practice on Wednesday. And they can send minor league coordinators to the triple-A team for the first time this season as the IronPigs’ vaccination rate counts toward the Phillies’ 85%.
The Phillies will have less restrictions when they travel but they have just nine road games left. The home clubhouse can be rearranged to have lockers closer together as they were kept apart this season to allow social distancing.
The Phillies have had both unvaccinated and vaccinated players sidelined this season by positive COVID-19 tests but they still remained one of baseball’s final teams to reach the 85% threshold. They started the process during spring training when manager Joe Girardi and members of his staff each received their first shot. Players started to receive their vaccinations in April, but it soon became unsure if the Phillies could reach the threshold. Finally, they did.
“It is a bit of relief knowing that we at least accomplished something. We’ve been one of the laggards in the industry to do so, and it means a lot,” Fuld said. “A lot of people put a lot of time and energy into making the vaccine available, educating, and trying to maintain health. I’m just happy that it’s somewhat of a reward for the hard work a lot of people in our organization put in.”
Brogdon on the IL
The groin injury that placed right-hander Connor Brogdon on the injured list Wednesday is just a mild strain, Girardi said, but it may be enough to end the reliever’s season.
Brogdon felt sore last Thursday, received treatment, and pitched on Sunday but still felt discomfort. The strain is not significant, but there still may not be enough time left in the season for Brogdon to rehab and return.
“It’s so different with pitchers sometimes. You just have to wait and see,” Girardi said. “It just depends on how well he treats over the next weeks and can you get him throwing off the mound before the 10 days is up.”
The Phillies replaced Brogdon, who has a 3.60 ERA in 54 games, with Ramón Rosso.
J.T. Realmuto started Wednesday night at first base after missing Tuesday’s game because he received an anti-inflammatory injection in his right shoulder on Sunday. The Phillies hope he can catch Thursday’s game. ... Alec Bohm (wrist) remains out at triple A but has started to take swings. ... The Phillies will use a cast of relievers in Thursday’s series finale against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks.