Friday, February 12, 2016

Despite Injuries, Phillies Remain Positive

NEW YORK -- One injury after another could deflate a team, but if the Phillies are discouraged by so many of the walking wounded, they are doing a good job putting up a positive front.

Despite Injuries, Phillies Remain Positive

Brian Schneider started at catcher for the Phillies on Sunday after Carlos Ruiz was scratched. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)
Brian Schneider started at catcher for the Phillies on Sunday after Carlos Ruiz was scratched. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

NEW YORK -- One injury after another could deflate a team, but if the Phillies are discouraged by so many of the walking wounded, they are doing a good job putting up a positive front.

In trying to get the pulse of the team following the latest injury news, the players and Charlie Manuel insist they won’t be discouraged.

Roy Halladay will have his shoulder examined on Tuesday. Carlos Ruiz was pulled from the lineup with right hamstring tightness.

Manuel is probably scribbling lineups on a napkin, hoping what he writes will somehow work. Monday, Shane Victorino hit cleanup, the first time in his career he started a game batting fourth.

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The Phillies Zone: Ruiz day-to-day with tight hamstring

Yet, back to the original point, that the team certainly wasn’t holding its collective head down after Halladay and Ruiz became the latest to join the injured ranks.

The Phillies say Ruiz is day to day, but with a hamstring, anything is possible. The team is holding its breath on Halladay. Still, the players are conveying a positive attitude and the Phillies played that way in Monday’s 8-4 win over the Mets New York Mets at Citi Field.

“I would say the mood is good,” said Ty Wigginton, who helped by accumulating a career-high six RBIs in the win. “Everybody here, it’s a veteran club and a lot of guys understand these kinds of things happen during the year.”

Then Wigginton made the key statement, one that he followed on this day.

“There are times guys need to step up,” he said. “Just play baseball, it’s a long season.”

It would get a lot longer if Halladay is off for an extended time. And even if Ruiz’s injury isn’t serious, hamstrings can be difficult, especially with the physical beating a catcher takes.

That’s why when the Phillies begin a stretch of nine consecutive games in American League parks beginning June 8, Ruiz might be a viable candidate to be a DH some of those games.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The bottom line is that the Phillies have to keep grinding because they don’t know when the injured players will return and in the case of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, how effective they will be upon coming back after such long layoffs.

“We have had an unfortunate little stretch here recently,” said John Mayberry Jr., understating the situation just slightly. “I think one of the things I noticed since being with the team that in times like this, somebody is always there to pick up the slack and I think this time will be similar.”

On Monday it was Wigginton and Mayberry, who picked up the slack. Wigginton was 3 for 3 with the six RBIs and Mayberry hit a two-run home run.

What the Phillies truly need is Jimmy Rollins to begin giving the offense a spark. He is hitting .224 with a .284 on base percentage.

Rollins was just 1 for 5 Monday but he did score a run.

The Phillies are now 13-5 when he scores at least one time.

The team can’t depend on a half dozen RBI games from Wigginton too many times.

Sometimes experience is overrated but with the Phillies, especially in these times, it is helpful.

The players and Manuel insist there is no sense of panic. Manuel put it succinctly.

“We definitely are not going to fold the tent and back off,” he said.

No they aren’t. The Phillies still expect to win.

The question is will they have the resources if key components keep going down.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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