Scott Kingery’s visit Wednesday to Citizens Bank Park was just a respite from his rehab schedule, but it should not be long before he is at the ballpark to join the Phillies.
Kingery played seven innings with single-A Lakewood on Tuesday night and will play Thursday and Friday with double-A Reading. He has been out since April 20 with a strained right hamstring.
The next stop for Kingery will likely be additional rehab games in triple A.
The Phillies do not have everyday at-bats waiting for Kingery, so they could keep him in the minors for a few extra days to pick up additional at-bats before activating him.
Manager Gabe Kapler said it’s “probably a stretch” for Kingery to join the team this weekend. The team then goes on a seven-game road trip, which would seem to be an ideal time to activate him.
“I’m not going to rule it out completely,” Kapler said of the weekend. “It could be. We’re just not sure.”
Kingery’s night in Lakewood proved enough of a test for his right hamstring. He charged a few balls at shortstop and sprinted to beat out an infield single. Everything felt fine, Kingery said.
Kingery’s injury -- which occurred while he was running to first base -- came at an inopportune time. He had had 10 hits in 24 at-bats before being placed on the injured list.
“I’m just going to go day by day and see how it feels,” Kingery said. “Yesterday went well, so we’ll see.”
Kingery is slated to play nine innings at second base Thursday before spending time Friday at both third base and center field, which provides an idea of how the Phillies plan to use Kingery when he returns.
Kapler said Kingery will be an option to start for them at all three outfield positions, second base, third base, and shortstop.
The majority of those starts will likely have to come away from second base, because Cesar Hernandez is hitting well enough to keep himself in the lineup. Hernandez entered Wednesday with a .928 OPS over his last 88 plate appearances, more than .200 points higher than it was through his first 79 trips to the plate.
“I think it’s noticeable how his body has changed from the beginning of spring training,” Kapler said. “There’s this sweet spot for Cesar and he’s starting to get into it.
"When he got to spring training, he was a little bit big and muscular. At the end of last season, he was pretty light and really, really lean.
"There’s this middle ground. He’s in that middle ground right now. He’s at the right playing weight. He’s at the right physical condition. And it’s our job to keep him in that frame of mind, which is prepare, prepare, prepare, and stay in that peak physical condition.”
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