David Robertson’s goal to return this season from last summer’s Tommy John surgery already felt ambitious, but it became unlikely on Friday, when Phillies manager Joe Girardi said the pitcher has suffered a setback.
The righthander moved his rehab earlier this month from the team’s Clearwater, Fla. facility to the satellite training site in Allentown, presenting a good sign that Robertson might be able to contribute in 2020. But that changed Friday.
Robertson joined the Phillies before last season on a $23 million two-year contract, but he has pitched in just seven games.
“I’m not sure when David is going to be ready,” Girardi said.
The Phillies may not be welcoming Robertson back to their bullpen, but they could have Ranger Suarez back soon. The lefthander is also in Allentown as he works his way back from the coronavirus infection he suffered before the season. Girardi said that he pitched Thursday and that the team would decide what is next for him.
“I could see myself using him for multiple innings. I could also see myself using him for matchups, that sort of thing. So I won’t limit how I use Ranger,” Girardi said.
“Obviously, I know he’s behind the rest of our guys. And I probably have to be cognizant of how much I use him. And I probably wouldn’t use him back-to-back days right away. But there’s not a situation that I would not use him in. He’s thrown multiple innings -- he’s thrown two innings -- so I’m comfortable doing that, but I would also match him up for an inning.”
The bullpen entered Friday with the worst ERA (7.52) in baseball, but things seem to be trending in the right direction after a miserable start. The bullpen has allowed just two earned runs in the last three games as the Phillies reshaped the unit with three new additions and some promotions from Allentown. More help could be on the way.
“I do feel better. Because I believe that guys are starting to throw better and we are much more experienced than we were,” Girardi said. “And you know, Ranger’s coming back; he had an outstanding year last year. So I do feel that I feel like it’s kind of falling into place a little bit more than it was before.
“And, you know, ideally, you’d like to have traditional roles. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to that. But I would like to have it more traditional than it was 10 days ago.”