Phillies Injury Update

Harper out of Phillies' lineup with bruised hand, Wheeler iffy for Sunday

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At the time, in the top of the first inning Tuesday night to be precise, the play seemed pretty routine. Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman hit a grounder to the right side of the infield. The ball bounced off the glove of Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper, who recovered and retired the runner.

Harper, scheduled to start in Tuesday's All-Star Game, shook his hand for a few moments immediately afterward, a telltale clue that the ball might have caught some flesh as well. "The hand is fine," manager Rob Thomson said after the game, dismissing the question.

Or not.

The Phillies' lineup for Wednesday night's middle game against the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park was posted unusually late. The reason was that Harper was still in the batting cage, testing his bruised and sore hand.

In the end, he did not start. Alec Bohm moved over from third to play first and Edmundo Sosa stepped into his spot.

That was just one of three injury updates Wednesday afternoon that were more annoying in the short term than concerning in the long run.

All-Star right-hander Zack Wheeler, who left Tuesday night's start after five dominant innings with tightness in his left lower back, is still questionable for his scheduled start Sunday against the Athletics. Center fielder Johan Rojas, who was hit on the hand by a pitch, was also out of the lineup. Thomson had downplayed the severity of both injuries postgame.

Sitting Harper and Rojas was presented as strictly precautionary.

"Any time with hand and foot injuries, I'm leery because it changes your swing a little bit. If this was a playoff game or anything like that, (Rojas) would be able to play," the manager said. "Harp, we just want to make sure he can swing efficiently."

Wheeler had an MRI Wednesday that revealed no structural damage, but he was still sore. "We're going to be very cautious on him," Thomson said, a shift from the night before when he said he "assumed" the 34-year-old would be good to go.

Asked directly what the upside would be to have Wheeler work on Sunday when skipping that start followed by the All-Star break would give him at least 10 days to recuperate, Thomson said it would be just to have one of baseball's best pitchers on the mound.

But, he added: "We're not going to risk anything. And it just happens, really, on the perfect day. The day before the break. That way you can get all your bullpen arms to throw in the game and they don't have five days off coming out of the break.

It had previously been announced that Wheeler, like any All-Star starting pitcher whose turn was Sunday, would not appear in the game.


Right-hander Taijuan Walker threw a bullpen Wednesday afternoon. "He looked good to me. His split looked good," Thomson said. "I'm not sure about velo but Saturday he's going to either throw another bullpen or pitch BP."

The manager guessed that Walker, who is on the IL with right index finger inflammation which is believed to be the reason he's been unable to throw his splitter effectively, would need multiple rehab starts before he could be activated.


RHP Landon Knack (1-2, 2.86) will start the series finale for the Dodgers vs. RHP Aaron Nola (10-4, 4.38) Thursday at 6:05 p.m.

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