DENVER — The Phillies sent a car to Allentown on Wednesday night to pick up Roman Quinn, who had been waiting for a ride for quite some time.
Quinn began his rehab assignment earlier this month and felt fully recovered, but the Phillies had to wait until Quinn’s rehab assignment ended on April 24 to decide how to squeeze him onto the roster. So they waited, hoping the situation would handle itself while Quinn waited for his ride to arrive.
And on Thursday afternoon, it all came together. Quinn’s ride brought him to Philadelphia for a Thursday morning flight to Denver, where he joined the team after Odubel Herrera was placed on the injured list with a strained right hamstring.
“It feels good,” Quinn said. “I’m happy to be here and excited to join the team. I’m excited to start playing again.”
If the Phillies had promoted Quinn earlier this month, they likely would have created his roster space by either optioning Nick Williams or designating the optionless Aaron Altherr for assignment. If they had lost Altheer on waivers, which is what the Phillies expect would happen if they had designated him for assignment, they would have Quinn a bit earlier but would then be thin on outfielders once Herrera went down Wednesday afternoon while running for a ball in the outfield. Patience proved to be the right course of action.
Herrera does not expect to miss more than 10 days, but the Phillies are in position to be cautious. Quinn and Altherr will handle the majority of time in center field with Scott Kingery adding to the mix. Once Herrera returns, they will have to make another roster decision. Being cautious with Herrera will buy them time. And that decision, like the one they had with Quinn, could handle itself.
The Phillies, because of Quinn’s lengthy injury history, will tread carefully with their new outfielder. This is Quinn’s eighth professional season, all of which have been shortened by injuries. He will not start everyday as the Phillies try to monitor his health. But when he’s not in the lineup, Quinn will still be used off the bench as a dynamic reserve because of his ability to be a pinch-hitter or late-game pinch-runner.
“He definitely gives us a much different look than we have any where else,” Kapler said. “He profiles as a guy who can lay a bunt down and wreak havoc on the bases. But I don’t think enough has been made about the fact that he can drive the ball into the gaps, too. When we think about a player and their ability to create extra bases, it’s usually just with the swing. But when Roman Quinn hits a single, we see it as a possible double, or triple, or score from first base easily on a double. He’s just different from just about everyone else in the league.”
Quinn reported to spring training with a job on the major-league roster. Kapler, ever since he was hired to be the Phillies manager, has been enamored by what Quinn could provide off the bench. This season would be the manager’s chance to unlock him. But then Quinn injured the oblique on his right side while taking batting practice early in spring training. His ride to the majors would have to wait. But on Wednesday night, the car finally arrived.