SAN FRANCISCO -- About Jay Bruce’s grand return to the Phillies’ lineup ...
Not so fast.
One game after being reinstated from the injured list, Bruce headed right back Friday, this time with a flexor strain in his left elbow. The Phillies undid the roster move from one day earlier, recalling rookie outfielder Adam Haseley from triple-A Lehigh Valley.
"It's frustrating. That's the only word for it," Bruce said before the Phillies continued their series with the San Francisco Giants here at Oracle Park. "I feel bad. It just happened."
To be specific, it happened in the third inning Thursday night when Bruce retrieved Mike Yastrzemski's two-run double off the base of the left-field wall and threw it into third base. After an MRI Friday morning, the 32-year-old outfielder was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain and will be restricted from throwing or hitting for at least two weeks.
Bruce, who missed 19 games with a strained ribcage muscle in his right side, expressed optimism that he will be able to play again this season. He's under contract for next season, too, although the Seattle Mariners are on the hook to pay all but $2.75 million of the $21 million that he was owed at the time of his June 2 trade to the Phillies.
It’s unclear whether Bruce’s latest injury is related to the elbow tightness that caused him to be scratched from a June 29 game in Miami. Bruce played the following day and had been going through outfield drills in the days leading up to being reinstated from the injured list.
"I'm guessing there's some similarities because it's my throwing elbow, but I mean, we had taken care of that," Bruce said. "The time on the DL was helpful, I thought. But during the game something happens, you react to the play in front of you. I needed to make a throw, so I threw it and it did not feel good."
Regardless, manager Gabe Kapler said the Phillies didn't see the need to send Bruce on a minor-league rehab assignment because his ribcage injury had healed properly.
“He was feeling strong,” Kapler said. “I don’t know what else to say about it other than that. He felt like his timing and his rhythm would be where it needed to be, and the injury that he was dealing with was better. He got in the batter’s box [Thursday] night and smoked a ball to third base and sprinted to first base and looked great and felt great.”
Haseley, meanwhile, had not yet left the Bay Area after being optioned to the minor leagues on Thursday. He walked into the clubhouse Friday to playful teasing from teammates who told him he wasn't gone long enough to be missed.
With the team in an offensive funk, Kapler had been excited to reinsert Bruce’s left-handed bat into the middle of the order. But Haseley has been one of the Phillies’ hottest hitters over the last two weeks, which caused some eyebrows to be raised over his demotion.
Haseley has 14 hits in his last 40 at-bats (.350) and is 23-for-84 (.274) with a .315 on-base percentage and three home runs overall in two call-ups since being rushed to the big leagues in June to help replace injured left fielder Andrew McCutchen and suspended center fielder Odubel Herrera.
Bruce went 0-for-3 with a strikeout Thursday night, as the Phillies mustered one hit in a 5-0 loss to the Giants. He's batting .250 with a .266 on-base percentage, .533 slugging percentage, six doubles, 10 homers, three walks and 22 strikeouts in 120 at-bats for the Phillies.