CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Roman Quinn felt a twinge two days before he stepped into the indoor batting cage, but he brushed it off. Quinn has been injured each season since the Phillies drafted him in 2011. This, he felt, was nothing substantial.
And then he took a swing Wednesday during a rain delay in Tampa and realized this was something. The 25-year-old Quinn, who entered camp as a favorite to make the team, will miss at least a few weeks with what manager Gabe Kapler labeled a “mild right-oblique strain.” The Phillies will learn how severe the injury is after MRI results return.
Quinn is the team’s fastest runner, can play all three outfield positions, and would be a solid bat off the bench. To make the team, the outfielder just needed to conquer the biggest detriment to his career: his health.
“I’ve lost the words,” Quinn said. “I put my body in position to work at a high level. The same thing just keeps happening.”
The Phillies told Quinn to add more body fat this offseason in hopes that it would prevent this type of injury. He said he did all he could.
“I talked to as many people that I could possibly talk to about adding weight and adding body fat and eating like this and eating like that,” Quinn said. “But it hasn’t worked out for me.”
Quinn had surgery in May after a tearing a ligament in his finger during spring training and missed two months. He reached the majors in July and broke his toe in September. It was another painful season in a career riddled with injuries. He has battled hip injuries, a sore hamstring, and an elbow injury. His last oblique injury, Quinn said, kept him out for three or four weeks.
“Frustrating is not even the word,” Quinn said. “I do pretty much everything that I possibly can to play this game and go out there and play. I keep having setback after setback after setback. It’s frustrating, man. It’s really frustrating.”
Kapler said at the start of camp that the team was holding competitions for playing time in both center field and right field. But that seemed more like a motivational tool than the start of a race.
Odubel Herrera entered camp as the heavy favorite to start in center, with Nick Williams in right. Quinn, because of his speed and defensive range, was a perfect weapon for the bench.
But then Herrera suffered a hamstring strain and has yet to return to action. Perhaps Quinn could force his way into the lineup, if he could just stay healthy.
“We’re just going to keep searching for ways to give him his best chance to stay healthy,” Kapler said. “He’s very disappointed and I’m disappointed for him. But trust that this is a minor thing and he’ll be back rolling in a couple weeks.”
Hunter’s not concerned
The Phillies are unsure if Tommy Hunter will be ready for the start of the season, but the reliever said he was not concerned about the arm injury that will sideline him for at least two weeks.
Hunter said he felt fine pitching over the weekend, but pain flared up when he finished throwing. A grade-one flexor strain was diagnosed, and Hunter said it causes discomfort in both his elbow and forearm. Hunter said he has dealt with this type of injury almost every season, but “I couldn’t man up through this one.”
“Just giving it a little rest,” Hunter said. “Too hot, too fast. ... I’m not concerned. I don’t think anybody else is really concerned. We have a pretty good program with these guys. I don’t think anyone is really behind at this point except me. I don’t think there’s any concerns for anyone.”
The Phillies’ 4-2 loss to the Twins was ended after the seventh inning because of rain. The shortened game came a day after the Phillies game with the Yankees was canceled because of rain. ... Ranger Suarez pitched the first two innings and allowed two runs on two hits. Jean Segura and Andrew McCutchen both had two hits. ... Enyel De Los Santos will pitch in Dunedin on Thursday against the Blue Jays while Adonis Medina stays home to face the Orioles.