SAN FRANCISCO — Rhys Hoskins, with his lip still busted and his jaw still fractured, said on Friday that there is a chance he could return to the Phillies lineup on June 9 when he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list.
“That’s the hope,” Hoskins said.
Hoskins will meet with the team’s oral surgeon next week in Philadelphia for a follow-up appointment. He has a hairline fracture on the underside of his jaw that runs from his teeth to his chin. Hoskins was hit in the mouth by his own foul tip on Monday in Los Angeles. Hoskins’ ability to return so quickly will depend on the result of that follow-up appointment.
“Obviously things change and you’re talking to the player and not the staff,” Hoskins said after hitting in an indoor batting cage. “In my mind, I can play today. But I get it. This is a long-term thing.”
Hoskins joined the team before Friday’s series opener after flying back to Philadelphia to meet with the oral surgeon, who told him that his fracture could heal without surgery. The Phillies are working on getting Hoskins a protective batting helmet to use once he returns. He might wear a batting helmet with flaps that cover both sides of his face or a helmet with a cage. They will come up with something, Hoskins said.
“I just don’t see it being long before he’s back,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I don’t want to be overly optimistic here because I don’t have a lot of exposure to jaw fractures, but my instincts tell me that it’s not going to be too long before Rhys is back in a Phillies uniform.”
Hoskins circled this series at AT&T Park as a homecoming. He grew up just 85 miles north of here in Sacramento and hit two homers last season when the Phillies came to San Francisco. Hoskins is hosting a large group of family members and friends at each game. His injury — just four days before the Phillies played the Giants — keeps him as a spectator.
“It’s tough, but I think the silver lining in it is that I’m here and I’ll still get to see family,” Hoskins said. “I get to spend some time in another big-league ballpark. And we’re in California. It could be worse.”
The Phillies played the final two games of their series in Los Angeles without Hoskins in the dugout. His presence was missed, Kapler said. Hoskins flew across the country — for the third time in five days — to be with the team in San Francisco. He will travel with the team to Chicago as he rests his jaw with a diet of soft foods. And then he’ll meet with a doctor, who could decide when Hoskins is no longer a spectator.
“We want him around as much as possible,” Kapler said. “He’s a pretty influential guy. Not just in the clubhouse, but in the dugout as well. We really notice his presence and his leadership.”