The Phillies are going to have to get through at least the next two weeks without the hitter who has been their most productive so far this season.
Raul Ibanez, who was leading the Phillies in hitting (.312) and was second in the National League with 22 home runs and 59 runs batted in, today was put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said the groin problem began in April but didn't become an issue until the recent trip to the West Coast. The injury became evident during Wednesday night's 7-1 loss to Toronto when Ibanez limped to first base during a double play and struggled to chase down a fly ball.
Ibanez is the current leader among outfielders in the fan balloting for the All-Star Game. He quickly became a crowd favorite at Citizens Bank Park, where the fans chant Rau-u-u-u-l each time he gets a hit or makes a play in left field. He was also hampered by a sore left Achilles tendon, but Amaro said the soreness was caused by a new pair of shoes and that the issue has been rectified.
The Phillies recalled John Mayberry Jr. from triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Ibanez's roster spot. Mayberry started in right field today against Toronto while Jayson Werth was shifted to left field.
Aside from missing Sunday's game after playing in 222 straight, Ibanez is 3-for-17 during the current home stand. In the two games against the Blue Jays, he went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts, an indication the injury may have impacted his hitting.
"Oh, it's affected his play," Amaro said. "I didn't really know about it acting up until fairly recently. Raul kind of let us know it's been kind of off and on for him beginning in April, now it's gotten to the point where it started to get debilitating and we can't afford to lose him and don't want to lose him for a long time. So this is the best way to calm it down."
Barring a setback, Ibanez would be eligible to come off the DL on July 3, when the Phillies are home against the Mets.
Amaro said Ibanez was not pleased about going on the DL.
"But we have top kind of see the forest for the trees here," Amaro said. "He stood a chance to really damage the groin if he continued to play on it. And if he did that, he could be out for a very, very long period of time, and it just doesn't make any sense for us to do that with him."