Phillies notes: Kidney disorder slowed Didi Gregorius' return

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Didi Gregorius is back in the Phillies' lineup, playing shortstop and batting fifth, for Friday night’s game at Colorado, the first of a seven-game road trip for the team.

Gregorius missed the previous three games, the entire series against San Francisco in Philadelphia, while being treated for inflammation in his right elbow. He landed awkwardly on the elbow while ranging into the outfield and making a catch earlier in the homestand against St. Louis.

Gregorius first sat out on Monday. At the time, Phillies officials believed he’d only miss a day. He ended up missing more time because the swelling was slow to dissipate. There was a medical reason for that, according to Gregorius.

“We were just trying to get the swelling down,” he said. “A lot of people know that I have kidney problems, so with that sometimes it doesn’t filter everything out right away. Sometimes it takes longer for me than a regular person so that’s why we were going day by day about it.”

Gregorius was diagnosed with a kidney disorder in 2011. It is the reason he has been diligent wearing a mask even while on the playing field during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PROTOCOL UPDATE

Pitchers Matt Moore and Jose Alvarado and infielder Ronald Torreyes remain in COVID protocol. Manager Joe Girardi said he was hopeful they could begin to return next week.

Hitting coach Joe Dillon and bullpen coach Dave Lundquist returned from COVID protocol. Three other coaches, Dusty Wathan, Paco Figueroa and Bobby Meacham, remain in protocol.

Moore’s absence forced the Phillies to give Vince Velasquez the start Friday night. He carried a 5.31 ERA in 20 1/3 career innings at Coors Field into the start.

“We believe in Vinny. I believe in Vinny,” Girardi said. “I’d be thrilled if we get five innings out of Vinny tonight, even four innings would be great. Just keep us in the game, Vinny, and I’ll be thrilled.”

TAXI SQUAD

Because of COVID, teams are allowed to bring a five-man taxi squad to road games. The Phillies brought two extra pitchers, Ramon Rosso and JD Hammer, infielder Luke Williams, outfielder Matt Vierling and catcher Rafael Marchan.

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