Monday, May 25, 2015

Concern for Tommy Joseph; Cesar Hernandez close to return

Tommy Joseph, a top catching prospect, is done for the season and could be forced to switch positions.

Concern for Tommy Joseph; Cesar Hernandez close to return

Phillies catching prospect Tommy Joseph. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Phillies catching prospect Tommy Joseph. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

The day was March 6 when Tommy Joseph's season reached its highest point. He caught nine innings of a Grapefruit League game, won praise from Roy Halladay, and twice singled off Stephen Strasburg.

The rest of the catching prospect's first full season in the Phillies system is a nightmare.

Joseph will not play again in 2013, director of player development Joe Jordan said Thursday. The 22-year-old is still hampered by concussion symptoms from a May incident. It is the third concussion of his young career. And it could force Joseph to play a position other than catcher.

Jordan said the team is hopeful Joseph can remain behind the plate, where his value is highest, but the organization may talk about a switch before 2014 begins. Joseph, acquired in the Hunter Pence trade last July, played in just 36 games and hit .179 with a .514 OPS.

More coverage
WATCH: Phillies-Nationals highlights
Box score: Nationals 4, Phillies 1
VOTE: When should Phillies call up Aaron Nola?
Follow the Phillies: Download our FREE Pro Baseball app!
Buy Phillies jerseys and other gear
WATCH: Daily fantasy baseball updates

When Joseph departed big-league spring training, the plan looked simple. Joseph, with a solid season, could ascend to the majors in 2014 as Carlos Ruiz's heir. Now that path is decidedly less certain.

Another prospect, Cesar Hernandez, is still sidelined by a wrist injury. Hernandez has played once since July 21. Jordan said Hernandez is close to a return. When he does play again, it will be in center field, Jordan said. The Phillies are experimenting with the second baseman's versatility with hopes of making him a utility player in the majors.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

About this blog

The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer's beat writers and columnists.

Jake Kaplan Inquirer Staff Writer
Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
Matt Breen Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter