FORT MYERS, Fla. - When your first reaction to reading the MRI results on Mario Hollands is to think of Cliff Lee, you know the news is not good and that the final prognosis will not be a positive one for the second-year reliever.
The Phillies announced yesterday morning that an MRI on Hollands' left arm revealed a strain of the common flexor tendon. It's the same injury Lee was diagnosed with earlier this month.
While Lee is once again treating it with rest, Hollands, 26, is 10 years younger. Surgery is probable for Hollands.
According to the Phillies, Hollands will be evaluated by team doctor Michael Ciccotti in the coming days and a plan of action will be determined following that examination.
"Unfortunate news for him," manager Ryne Sandberg said following the Phillies' 7-6 loss to Boston yesterday.
Hollands was a mostly unknown camp participant when spring training began in 2014, but he pitched his way onto the roster last March and was one of four players who stuck in the bullpen for the duration of the season. He went 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 50 games.
But Hollands was sidelined after Sept. 3 with a forearm strain. He had an 11.81 ERA (seven runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings) in five appearances this spring.
"He would have been one of the guys competing for that job," Sandberg said.
"He really had a real good first half for us last year, real solid. He might have ran out of gas a little bit [last summer]. But he did a nice job. He was in the mix for a situational lefty guy."
Center of attention
You can certainly see why the Red Sox wouldn't want to trade a guy like Mookie Betts.
The rookie centerfielder ripped two balls in two at-bats off Jerome Williams yesterday, the first for a double and the second for an inside-the-park home run. Both balls were blistered to center, where Odubel Herrera made his second straight start.
Williams was asked when he knew the second hit would lead to Betts circling the bases.
"When twinkle toes over there was going in circles," Williams jokingly said of Herrera, who got turned around awkwardly when the ball caromed off the wall. "If he comes up with it clean, it's probably a double."
Sandberg said Herrera was "a little too aggressive."
"For me it was pretty much a triple off the bat with Betts being the runner," Sandberg said. "So, once he fumbled it, a little too anxious to get it instead of just just being clean with it, routine and the guy is at third base."
Herrera, a Rule 5 pick who is a lock for the Opening Day roster, spent the majority of his time in the Texas Rangers organization as a middle infielder. But the Phillies like his athleticism in the outfield, so much so that Ben Revere started in leftfield next to Herrera in center in both games over the weekend.
Revere has started 211 games in centerfield for the Phillies in the last 2 years and hasn't played anywhere else since 2012, when he started five times in leftfield and 79 games in rightfield while with the Minnesota Twins. With Revere in center, opposing teams have taken advantage of his below-average arm, regularly taking extra bases.
"We'll take that day to day," Sandberg said about whether he'll keep playing with the current alignment. "But right now Ben's getting some games in leftfield, so that's the other side of it, too.''
"I'm ready for it - just something to help get some guys in the lineup, get some bats in the lineup," Revere told reporters Saturday. "If it's something I have to do, I have to do [it]. If they move me back to center, I'll be ready for it. But if I play left, I'll be ready for that, too. As long as I'm in the lineup, as long as I'm out there trying to help the team win, that's the biggest key for me."
Flyin' Hawaiian homecoming
Two weeks from today, one of the more popular Phillies of the last decade will step into the batter's box as an opposing player for the first time.
Shane Victorino is in his third season with the Red Sox, who open the 2015 season at Citizens Bank Park on April 6.
"I'm excited, with any chance I get to go back," said Victorino, who still owns a home in the Philadelphia area. "You reach into those memories, think about all the good times and appreciate how lucky I was."
Although some former players aren't always warmly greeted by the South Philly faithful, Victorino probably doesn't have to worry about potential boos.
"I'm not going to say I don't have to worry about it," he said, "but I appreciated the fact that the fans appreciated me and what I did there, and more importantly, stuff I did in the community. That's the biggest part for me."
Victorino went 1-for-3 yesterday, collecting a single in his first at-bat of the game, against fellow Hawaiian native Jerome Williams. It was Williams' first start in 10 days; he was scratched from his previous start with a hamstring injury.
Williams allowed five runs (four earned) on 10 hits in three innings.
"The quality of the pitches wasn't quite there," Williams said. "Pretty much up in the zone. But overall, I think it was a good test for my hamstring and my body."
Jonathan Papelbon didn't make the 2-hour-plus trip to see his old team yesterday, but he did pitch. Papelbon struck out one in a scoreless inning of work of a minor league game in Clearwater.