Aaron Altherr likely headed to disabled list

The Phillies could be without Aaron Altherr, their best hitter, for at least a week.

MILWAUKEE — Just as the Phillies were ready to receive one of their missing pieces, they will lose their most productive hitter.

Aaron Altherr said his strained right hamstring has not improved. He is likely headed to the disabled list, which means he will miss at least another week of action. The Phillies will wait until Monday to make a roster decision, but Altherr was unavailable to play for the last two days. He doubled twice in five innings Friday but limped into second base.

It’s possible that Altherr is replaced Monday on the active roster by Cesar Hernandez, who has been on a rehab assignment with high-A Clearwater, and informed team officials that he is ready to return. Hernandez played one more game Sunday night for Clearwater.

He will meet the Phillies in Miami. He has not played since June 9 because of a strained abdominal muscle. The Phillies will be happy to see him.


Is it time to move Vince Velasquez to the bullpen?

Hernandez will allow Ty Kelly and Andres Blanco to return to their suited roles as reserves. He’ll bat atop the lineup, which solves one problem. But Altherr’s absence will complicate manager Pete Mackanin’s lineup options.

The presence of Hernandez, at least, could provide some energy. He was not hitting well before his injury. The second baseman enjoyed a powerful April, but in 35 games after that, he hit .246 with a .620 OPS. The Phillies rank 25th in baseball with a cumulative .665 OPS from their second basemen.

Five and stiff

Jeremy Hellickson was removed from Sunday’s 5-2 win after just five innings because of tightness in his right calf. He allowed a two-run homer on a hanging change-up in the fifth inning.

“It was a cramp for a second but it was more just really tight,” Hellickson said. “It was kind of bothering me when I pushed off.”

The Phillies were not concerned about it lingering.

“He should be fine,” Mackanin said. “He had that before and I had to take him out. It’s not a big issue.”

Hellickson has a 4.44 ERA. He could make two more starts before the July 31 trade deadline.

Extra bases

Tommy Joseph snapped an 0 for 14 skid with a single ahead of Nick Williams’ grand slam. He walked in the seventh. He is hitting .246 with a .310 on-base percentage and .452 slugging percentage. … Jerad Eickhoff will start Monday against Marlins righthander Tom Koehler. The Phillies have 72 games remaining this season, and 14 are against Miami.