ARLINGTON, Texas — Phillies manager Rob Thomson knew Wednesday was going to be a big day for right-handed pitcher Zach Eflin.
Eflin, who has a bruised right knee, exited his start on Sunday after just 38 pitches. He was re-evaluated Tuesday after throwing long toss, but Thomson said the real test would come during his bullpen session, which originally was scheduled for Thursday but moved to Wednesday.
Thomson said it went “really well.” The Phillies are going to run more tests on Eflin and should know by Thursday whether he’ll be able to make his next start on Saturday against the San Diego Padres.
Eflin has a lengthy injury history with his right knee. He had surgery on both knees in 2016 and underwent another surgery in September 2021 to repair a tear in the patellar tendon in his right knee.
Thomson is optimistic Eflin will be able to make his next start. Eflin decided to push his bullpen up a day because he wanted to give himself some more recovery time ahead of a potential start on Saturday, which would indicate that Eflin is optimistic, too.
Update on Maton
Infielder Nick Maton, who was placed on the 10-day injured list June 5 (retroactive to June 4) with a right shoulder strain, started hitting on the field on Tuesday. He is throwing from 60 feet now and will get up to 90 feet this week. There is no timetable for his return.
Thomson said he sees Maton as a potential contributor off the bench moving forward.
“He can play anywhere,” Thomson said. “I’m not so sure he couldn’t play the outfield as well. He’s athletic enough; he runs well enough. He’s a left-handed bat with some pop, brings some value.”
Harper back in the lineup
Designated hitter Bryce Harper, who has an infected blister on his left index finger, was back in the lineup ahead of Wednesday’s game. It was his first start since Friday.
Thomson said Harper still has the blister, but it isn’t irritating him as much. Harper’s absence has made a big impact on the Phillies’ ability to score with runners in scoring position over the past few days, but Thomson said they should be able to score without him.
“It’s a big piece to take out of your lineup, but we’ve got guys in our lineup that are good hitters too,” Thomson said. “[Kyle] Schwarber and [Rhys] Hoskins have done a really good job of getting on base. Looks like [Nick] Castellanos swung the bat good [Tuesday] night. Hit the ball hard three times.
“J.T. [Realmuto] is swinging the bat pretty good right now. We’ve got enough guys in the lineup to keep scoring runs. As long as we get guys on base, we’re going to score runs. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re just not getting them in very much right now. But teams go through that.”