CLEARWATER, Fla. -- When Phillies officials review the team’s depth chart, they see only one name listed at first base: Rhys Hoskins. It’s notable, then, if not overly alarming, that Hoskins will miss a few games with what manager Gabe Kapler characterized Wednesday as “mild” left shoulder soreness.
“Just a little inflammation, a little soreness, nothing to be worried about,” Hoskins said after going through fielding drills. “Wanted to nip it in the bud before we get going.”
An MRI exam Tuesday didn’t reveal any structural damage to the shoulder, according to Kapler, who said the Phillies have “no concerns” that Hoskins will be ready for the season-opener against the Braves on March 28 at Citizens Bank Park, a sentiment echoed by the slugger.
“Not in question,” Hoskins said of his status for opening day.
Hoskins, who noticed the soreness after an “awkward” swing in his final at-bat Sunday, won’t play through at least Friday night in Tampa against the Yankees and probably not until Sunday against the Orioles in Clearwater.
If Hoskins did miss extended time, third baseman Maikel Franco would move to first base, Kapler said. Franco has played nine games and made six starts at the position, including one last season. He is scheduled to play first base on Friday night.
Sean Rodriguez played first base Wednesday and went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in a 3-1 loss to the Tigers. A utility infielder with extensive major-league experience, he is in camp as a non-roster invitee and can ask for his release if he isn't added to the 40-man roster by Saturday.
Rodriguez is 3-for-38 this spring.
Andrew McCutchen will begin the season as the Phillies' leadoff hitter.
"I love his profile up there," Kapler said. "I love his ability to see pitches. I love his history of [getting] on base."
Kapler also said he prefers to split up the right-handed hitters in the middle of the order. When switch-hitting Cesar Hernandez leads off, righty-swinging Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, and McCutchen would likely bat back-to-back-to-back in the 4-5-6 slots.
Hernandez, the Phillies’ primary leadoff man over the last few seasons, will bat lower in the lineup, with lefty-hitting Odubel Herrera and Franco, a right-handed hitter.
Right-hander Nick Pivetta allowed three runs on three hits, including a Josh Harrison homer, in five innings against the Tigers. But he continued to display what Kapler called “A-plus, elite stuff.”
Pivetta is in line to start the season’s second game against the Braves, on March 30. Jake Arrieta will start on March 31, a nationally televised Sunday night game.