David Dahl

Phillies' next man up philosophy continues with David Dahl's 2-hit season debut

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The Phillies lost starter Taijuan Walker to a sore shoulder in spring training. Spencer Turnbull took the ball and went 2-0, 1.67 in six starts.

They’ve been without shortstop Trea Turner, who was hitting .343, a month ago when he strained his hamstring. Edmundo Sosa has gotten most of the playing time in his absence and is playing some of the best ball of his career.

Leftfielder Brandon Marsh went on the injured list Monday, also with a strained hamstring, and you’ll never guess what happened next. Actually, you probably will. . .

David Dahl, a 30-year-old who had played a total of four games in the big leagues since 2021, was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He started in left. And he went 2-for-3 including a home run and scored twice to help the Phillies beat the first-place Brewers, 3-1, at Citizens Bank Park.

That’s just the way things have gone for the Phillies so far this season. It’s the sort of serendipity that can suffuse teams with a faint team-of-destiny aura. Next man up is a great philosophy, but it rarely plays out so well for so long.

“David can hit,” manager Rob Thomson said after the game. “Going into the offseason last year we were talking about depth. Pitching depth but also position players. The front office went out and got it and you need it. Because there are going to be injuries. You’re going to get banged up.

“And a credit to our player development system for keeping those guys sharp and getting them going. It was great to see.”

Signed as a minor league free agent with an invite to big league camp after spring training opened, Dahl was batting .340 for the IronPigs. He had 12 homers and a 1.076 OPS.

He’s expected to split playing time with Cristian Pache until Marsh returns.

“I’m just super excited and grateful to be here and trying to take advantage of the opportunity,” Dahl said. “I was just trying to put good at bats together. Hit the ball hard. And whatever happens after that happens.”

His minor league numbers suggest that he’s been locked in most of the season. “Just being healthy and getting consistent ABs,” he said. “Trying not to do too much. I’ve worked a lot on the mental side over the years and it’s definitely helped me.”

Lehigh Valley was off Monday. Dahl was hanging around his hotel, watching Netflix, when Sam Fuld called around 12:45 p.m. to give him the news. About 20 minutes away he found out he was in the lineup.

“I think it helped because I wasn’t thinking about it,” he said. “It was like, ‘All right, we’ve got to get going.’ Didn’t have much time to think about it. Just go play.”

When Dahl returned to his position after hitting the home run, he got a standing ovation. “It was definitely surreal,” he said. “After I hit the home run they gave me a standing ovation out there and that’s definitely the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me on a baseball field.”

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