Rhys Hoskins took batting practice on the field again Thursday at Citizens Bank Park prior to the Phillies' final home game of the regular season, going deep several times as he rehabs an ACL tear suffered in spring training.
Hoskins, who could potentially be in play for activation should the Phillies advance all the way to the World Series, is taking 70 to 75 swings per day. He's run the bases this week as well. The Phillies plan to send him to Clearwater next week to face live pitching, manager Rob Thomson said prior to their series finale with the Pirates.
Hoskins underwent surgery on his torn left ACL on March 30, the day the Phillies opened their season in Texas. Asked Thursday if he is more optimistic about Hoskins returning late in the postseason than he was a few months ago, Thomson said "probably, because he hasn't had a setback. A lot of times, right around this time of the rehab process, there's a good chance of a setback. He hasn't had one, so that's good."
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The Phillies would need to win in the wild-card round, NLDS and NLCS for this to even be a consideration. If they get to the World Series, they would not use Hoskins in the field or on the bases. He would be a pinch-hitter who would almost certainly need to be pinch-run for unless he homers.
Kyle Schwarber is the Phils' everyday designated hitter with Bryce Harper at first base. They wouldn't DH Hoskins because it would force them to play Schwarber in left field, nullifying the additional offense of Hoskins starting over Johan Rojas or Brandon Marsh.
Still, the Phillies are encouraged by Hoskins' progress and leaving open the possibility that he could have his Willis Reed moment in the World Series. They'd have the option of carrying five bench players in the playoffs, unlike the regular season when teams must carry 13 position players and 13 pitchers on the 26-man roster.
"I'm just looking at his swing and making sure he's free and easy, not forcing anything," Thomson said Thursday. "He really looks good in BP. Probably the middle of next week, we'll get him to see some live pitching and build from there. It looks like there's good effort, he's not forcing anything, there's no wincing or anything like that. He feels good."