Phillies Injury Update

The next steps for Brandon Marsh, who's closing in on return

Championship Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v. Philadelphia Phillies - Game Seven

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 24: Brandon Marsh #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after he singles in the third inning during Game 7 of the NLCS between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Brandon Marsh could make his 2024 Grapefruit League debut with the Phillies as soon as the middle of the week, manager Rob Thomson said after Saturday's loss to the Blue Jays.

Marsh had arthroscopic left knee surgery on February 9. The day of the procedure, the Phillies put a 3-to-4-week timetable on his return to play. He's right at the four-week mark.

"He had five at-bats again today so he's had 29 at-bats, BP at-bats,” Thomson said. “Those aren't game at-bats but at least there's really good simulation there.

"(Sunday), I believe, he's going to DH in a player development intrasquad game so he gets some at-bats there and can actually run out of the box."

Marsh has run the bases in practice and slid but the next step is doing so in a game setting. Then, the Phillies will get him time in the outfield.

Thomson said it was possible Marsh participate in a big-league spring training game by the middle to end of the week.

Marsh is an important Phillie for numerous reasons. He can play left field and also center field, which will become more important if the Phillies decide Johan Rojas needs more seasoning at Triple A. He also provides left-right balance toward the bottom of the lineup. And Marsh showed marked offensive improvement in 2023, hitting .277/.372/.458 with 25 doubles, six triples and 12 home runs in 472 plate appearances.

Pitching notes

Max Castillo, one of the pitchers competing for the long relief spot in the bullpen, will start Sunday in Bradenton against the Pirates.

Zack Wheeler will start Monday in Clearwater against the Yankees.

Cristopher Sanchez and Orion Kerkering have made it past their illnesses. Sanchez will throw live batting practice on Sunday or Monday. Kerkering threw a short bullpen session Friday and Thomson said he'd likely throw another before appearing in a game.

Sanchez has made one start in camp — it was a brief but impressive outing with a fastball more than three mph harder than last season's — and Kerkering has made two relief appearances.

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