It was bound to happen sooner or later. Anyone who follows the Philadelphia Phillies knew that the team’s aging core would struggle with injuries. After all, that is what happens when most of your starters are over the age of 30. Except that out of the seven players that the Phillies will have on the disabled list at the start of the season, only Mike Adams is over the age of 30. The biggest name on the disabled list is pitcher Cole Hamels, who is only 30, and he will likely miss the first month of the season.
Hamels is making some progress, saying that he felt great after throwing batting practice Saturday morning. The Phillies’ ace suffered bicep tendinitis in the offseason and while attempting to recover from the tendinitis he suffered arm fatigue during a bullpen session. It is good news that Hamels appears to be closer to being ready, as the team cannot afford to lose their ace for an extended period of time. The team’s pitching depth has been affected by more than just Hamels missing time, as a few of the team’s younger pitchers have been plagued by shoulder issues.
Starting pitching candidates, Johnathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin, and Miguel Alfredo González have all been sidelined this spring with shoulder injuries. Both Pettibone and Martin started for the Phillies last season when they were in need, but due to their injuries, the pitching depth is thinner than ever. Meanwhile, Cuban import González did not appear ready to pitch in the majors before his own shoulder injury. Pettibone appears to be the closest of the three to returning, but it could still be a while until he returns. However, these three are not the only young players the Phillies will be without to start the season.
It was announced this week that key bench players Darin Ruf and Freddy Galvis will miss time. Ruf has been diagnosed with a strained muscle in his ribcage and could miss between four to six weeks. This leaves the team without their top right-handed power bat off of the bench. Ruf’s injury also hurts the Phillies’ first base depth, as he was expected to provide Ryan Howard with days off against left-handed pitchers. Although Ruf’s injury is more troublesome for the team’s offense, Galvis’ injury is a lot more troubling for multiple reasons.
The young infielder has been diagnosed with MRSA, meaning that he will be out indefinitely. The loss of Galvis, from an on-field standpoint, is minimal offensively. He is a great defensive talent, who can fill in at any infield position, who can also be a useful pinch runner for the team. However, Galvis’ diagnosis of MRSA goes a lot farther than his own health. The team had to disinfect its locker room, and players such as Cliff Lee have admitted to being worried about being infected.
The infection also reflects poorly on the Phillies organization. While MRSA infections are often associated with locker rooms and training rooms, the Phillies must make sure that no other players are infected. As the team’s prospects for the season continue to look worse, Galvis’ MRSA diagnosis is just the stale icing on top of a burnt cake. It would be best for the Phillies to prevent further infections so that they do not face similar scrutiny as the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had at least three players infected with MRSA last year. All the team can do now is hope to avoid more injuries to key players, and prevent further MRSA infections.
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