Phillies get a key player back 4 days before the season opener


The Phillies hoped to get Brad Miller into a game before spring training ended and today is the day. He is in Sunday’s lineup as the designated hitter.

An oblique strain cost Miller nearly three weeks. His last game action was March 10. Given the ordinary rehab timetable for an oblique, it looked like Miller might miss opening day but this is a big step toward avoiding that.

Sunday’s game against the Yankees (1:05 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia) is the Phillies’ second-to-last of the spring. They face the Blue Jays on Monday in Clearwater, have two days off, then it's the Braves in South Philly on opening day.

Miller is a key piece of the puzzle for the Phillies. He’s their top bench bat and their top backup at three positions (first base, third base and left field). He and Matt Joyce should give the Phillies two professional ABs from the left side off the bench, though the team could use a better right-handed bench option as well.

The Phillies signed Miller in mid-February to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. They loved having him in 2019, when he hit .263 and slugged .610 with 12 homers in 130 plate appearances. He ended September with three multi-homer games in his last nine.

That success led to his next opportunity in 2020 in St. Louis, where he spent half the season as the Cardinals’ cleanup hitter and had a productive first 30 games.

Altogether the last two seasons, Miller has hit .247/.343/.510 with 14 doubles, 20 homers and 50 RBI in 341 plate appearances.

Alec Bohm was also back in the Phils’ lineup Sunday after exiting early Thursday night with tightness in his left groin.

1. Andrew McCutchen, LF

2. Rhys Hoskins, 1B

3. Bryce Harper, RF

4. Alec Bohm, 3B

5. Didi Gregorius, SS

6. Jean Segura, 2B

7. Brad Miller, DH

8. Odubel Herrera, CF

9. Andrew Knapp, C

RHP Zack Wheeler

The Phillies are getting healthier with the opener just four days away. Their biggest injury this spring was the fractured thumb for J.T. Realmuto, who returned this week and caught Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

Vince Velasquez is scheduled to pitch two innings Sunday. An oblique issue has kept him out since March 9. He’s in play for the Phillies’ final bullpen spot.

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