Rhys Hoskins was unable to travel with the Phillies on their recently completed nine-game, three-city road trip after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a lower-abdominal tear.
So, he sent his glove instead.
“Hey, any way I can contribute, man, I’m in,” Hoskins said Friday with a laugh. “It was weird being away from the team and watching these guys on TV. But I always had a nice, little chuckle when I saw it, a couple different guys wearing it.”
Indeed, with Hoskins on the shelf, catcher J.T. Realmuto and outfielder Matt Vierling have often filled in at first base. Neither has his own first baseman’s mitt. Hoskins isn’t sure how the one that he typically uses in games wound up in someone else’s equipment bag for the road trip, but he was happy to loan it out.
Hoskins is also happy to serve as a guest hitting instructor -- or maybe it’s more like an advance scout? -- down the stretch of the season. He rejoined the Phillies when they returned home this week and watched batting practice Friday from behind the cage alongside hitting coach Joe Dillon.
“I’ll obviously try to help these guys prepare as much as I can,” Hoskins said. “We can talk about the [opposing] pitchers, what I’ve seen from guys before, pitch shapes, those types of things. Obviously, I’ll be more than happy to talk baseball with these guys.”
Hoskins said his surgery went smoothly and will involve a six- to eight-week recovery. (“Probably more on the eight-week side,” he said.) The procedure was performed by Philadelphia-based William Meyers, who operated on Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Mike Hampton, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, and Phillies general manager Sam Fuld, as well as a cavalcade of NFL players, including Donovan McNabb.
Given the timing of the surgery, Hoskins said his offseason training program shouldn’t be disrupted. He typically doesn’t begin hitting until the holiday season, at which point he likely will be long cleared to resume physical activities.
“The offseason should be relatively normal,” he said, “which is always a good thing.”
Hoskins, who turns 29 in March, finished the season with 27 homers, a .530 slugging percentage, and an .864 on-base-percentage-plus-slugging. He’s eligible for salary arbitration in the winter and will receive a raise from his $4.8 million salary.
Slip and slide
Odúbel Herrera barreled into third base in the sixth inning Thursday night and got tagged out. If he had slid feet-first, Girardi guessed he likely would have been safe.
Generally speaking, Girardi isn’t a fan of head-first slides. He believes it puts players at greater risk of injury.
“You know how many times I talk to guys about sliding head-first?” Girardi said. “Most of the times it makes no sense. But guys are more comfortable doing it. I worry about fingers, shoulders. I don’t worry about anything when you slide feet-first. Not one thing. I think [head-first slides] should be outlawed.”
Catcher Andrew Knapp and utilityman Luke Williams continued their minor league assignments with triple-A Lehigh Valley but are “pretty close” to joining the Phillies, according to Girardi. Knapp and Williams have been out since Aug. 28 with breakthrough cases of COVID-19. ... The Phillies are in the midst of a stretch of 14 out of 17 games at home. The 14 games are against the Rockies, Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, and Pittsburgh Pirates, who were a combined 89-192 (.317 winning percentage) on the road through Thursday. ... Josh Maurer, a Lower Merion High alum and play-by-play voice of the Boston Red Sox’s triple-A Worcester affiliate, will fill in Saturday and Sunday for Tom McCarthy. ... Zack Wheeler (12-9, 2.91 ERA), who is four strikeouts shy of 1,000 for his career, will start Saturday night against Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland (5-7, 4.69 ERA).