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Phillies prepare for emotional reunion with Rhys Hoskins

Former Phillie Rhys Hoskins will make his return to Citizens Bank Park for the first time come Monday when the Brewers visit the Phillies.

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For some, the visitation from the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club Inc. that commences Monday will be a sort of midseason measuring stick. The first-place Brew Crew, after all, will show up with the best record of any team the Phillies have played so far this season.

For others, it will be an opportunity to say hello and good-bye to first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who spent 11 years with the organization, becoming a fan favorite along the way. It will be his first time at Citizens Bank Park since he signed as a free agent with Milwaukee last winter and his first time to play in a game there since the 2022 World Series.

The beginning of the end for his time in Philadelphia came during spring training in 2023 when he tore the ACL in his knee while fielding a routine ground ball. That created a situation in which it benefitted the team for Bryce Harper to move to first base. And when Harper and the team decided to make the move permanent – and with Kyle Schwarber ensconced at designated hitter – Hoskins became the odd man out.

Until Friday there was no guarantee that the reunion would actually happen. Hoskins had missed 15 games with a pulled hamstring. But he was activated and played against the White Sox that night, so now the stage is set.

“He should get a huge ovation,” Rob Thomson said before Saturday night’s game. “And I’m sure he will. He’s such a great guy. Such a big part of what we did in ’22. And even with him on the injured list year he was a leader in the clubhouse. And a leader in the community, too.”

The manager said that the team was “right on the edge” of activating Hoskins for the World Series had they not been upset by the Diamondbacks in the NLCS even though he hadn’t had an at-bat under game conditions all year and would probably have been limited to pinch-hitting if he had been added to the roster.

“It was all about making sure he didn’t re-injure himself, because he was going into a contract year and we wanted to take care of him,” Thomson said. Hoskins ended up signing a 2-year, $34 million deal with Milwaukee.

He became a prospect to watch after hitting 38 homers for Double-A Reading in 2016 and made his Major League debut on August 10 the following year. In six years in the big leagues with the Phillies he batted .242 with 148 homers and an .844 OPS. Along with wife Jayme, he was active in charity work, especially for muscular dystrophy.

His signature moment came in Game 3 of the 2022 NLDS when he broke out of a deep slump with a three-run homer off Braves ace Spencer Strider that started an onslaught that led the Phillies to an easy win.

“It really fired up our guys,” Thomson said.

AND SO FORTH: Rob Thomson said he would “absolutely” consider the possibility of Edmundo Sosa playing in the outfield after Trea Turner (hamstring) comes off the IL. Since stepping in for Turner at shortstop on May 4 he was hitting .313 with a 1.014 OPS going into Saturday night. “If he keeps hitting like this it will be tough to take him out of the lineup,” he said, adding that he hasn’t had any substantive conversations on the subject yet. . .The Phillies had a meeting after batting practice to discuss their travel plans to London. The itinerary is to leave after Wednesday’s 4 p.m. game with the Brewers and arrive at their hotel around 10 a.m. Thursday. “There’s a lot that goes into it,” Thomson said. “From Colorado-San Francisco (on the last trip) to here to London and back we’re crossing like 18 different time zones.”. . .The Phillies have claimed righthander Freddy Tarnok on waivers from the Athletics. Tarnok was originally considered a top prospect in the Braves organization. “Big-time velocity,” the manager said. “So he’ll go to Triple-A (Lehigh Valley) and we’ll see what he’s got.”. . . Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (2-3, 3.45) will face RHP Taijuan Walker (3-2, 5.51) in the series finale Sunday at 7:10 p.m.

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