Andrew Knapp’s stint on the disabled list will be longer than expected after an MRI on Tuesday morning revealed a fracture in the catcher’s right hand.
Knapp, who was eligible to return on Monday, will be out for a “couple weeks,” manager Pete Mackanin said. Knapp will wear a splint and the Phillies said the injury will not require surgery. Knapp’s injury comes at a bad time as he was beginning to receive a majority of the playing time.
Cameron Rupp started on Tuesday against Atlanta. Knapp’s prolonged absence should allow the Phillies to get a better look at Jorge Alfaro, who joined the team after Knapp injured his hand on a foul tip last Thursday against the Angels.
“I’m going to play him,” Mackanin said of Alfaro. “I’ll pick my spots, but I’ll play him. I can’t catch Rupp everyday. He’ll get a good bit of playing time.”
Alfaro joined the Phillies after batting just .241 at triple-A Lehigh Valley with a .649 OPS in 324 at-bats. He can not be optioned to the minor leagues next season, which almost makes him a lock to start 2018 with the Phillies. Alfaro has a great arm, but there are still concerns about his defense and game calling. An extended look in the majors could answer some questions.
Excited to see Hoskins
Mackanin said he’s excited to see Rhys Hoskins, who played in left field again on Tuesday night at triple A and could be nearing a promotion to the big leagues.
The Phillies moved Hoskins, a first base prospect, to left field on Monday so they can play both him and Tommy Joseph once Hoskins reaches the majors. He may join the team as soon as Thursday against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.
“Everybody wants to see his bat but Tommy Joseph has done well enough where there’s enough games left for him to show even more improvement,” Mackanin said. “It’s hard. You don’t want to put Tommy Joseph on the bench so maybe this is a way to do it.”
Moving Hoskins to left field would likely not even be an option if Aaron Altherr was not sidelined with a hamstring injury, which created an opening in the outfield. Mackanin expects Altherr to miss two or three weeks.
“He was on the DL and came back so fast. I think we’re going to be a little more cautious this time,” Mackanin said about Altherr. “It’s a shame for him. He misses more than a month when he had a real good opportunity to win a job for next year. It’s too bad that he’s missed over a month.”
Righthander Jerad Eickhoff will start Wednesday against lefthander Sean Newcomb in the final game of a two-game series … The Phillies will face Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, and Chris Flexen this weekend at home in a four-game series against the Mets. … The Braves observed a moment of silence for Darren Daulton before the game.