LOS ANGELES — Rhys Hoskins found himself in a hospital room Tuesday night, just a few hours after he stood on second base at Dodger Stadium after hitting a double that seemed to imply he was injury-free.
Instead, a CT scan revealed that Hoskins played Tuesday with a fractured jaw. He is almost certainly headed to the disabled list for the first time in his professional career. Hoskins returned to Philadelphia on Wednesday to meet Thursday morning with a specialist who will decide if the fracture requires surgery.
"It makes it a little bit tougher knowing that I can play with little to no pain," Hoskins said. "But you have to put your health first at some point. It's just an unfortunate situation."
The fracture is a painful way for Hoskins to end the most difficult month of his career. He ends May batting just .161 with a .253 on-base percentage. His season hitting line has dropped to .233/.363/.415. It's been tough, Hoskins said.
Hoskins suffered the fracture on Monday night when his foul tip of a 95-mph Kenley Jansen fastball smacked Hoskins in the mouth. He was cleared to play Tuesday by the Dodgers team doctors, who then requested that he go to the hospital after Tuesday's game for a precautionary test.
Everything seemed fine before the CT scan. Hoskins hit a pinch-hit double in and scored in the eighth inning Tuesday. He thought he just had a cut lip as he even opted against attaching a protective face guard to his batting helmet.. Manager Gabe Kapler said after Tuesday's win that it was good to see Hoskins "back on the bike." A few hours later it was learned that he got back on the bike with a fracture in his jaw.
"Rhys, I've said all along, is one of our better hitters and one of the top offensive players in baseball in my opinion," Kapler said. "So it would be difficult to not have him in the lineup. He's also an emotional leader in our clubhouse so if he were to be a DL there would be disappointment with that."
The Phillies will fill Hoskins' void with an outfield of Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera, and Aaron Altherr. Williams and Altherr have shared time in right field and Hoskins' injury will at least give both the chance to have an everyday role. Williams homered Tuesday night and entered Wednesday with a .911 OPS this month Altherr is batting just .194 with a .331 on-base percentage.
Mitch Walding was promoted Wednesday to take Pedro Florimon's roster spot after Florimon broke his right foot a night earlier. Walding will primarily play at third base but could see time as a corner outfielder. The Phillies will add someone from triple A — likely either Andrew Pullin or Dylan Cozens — once they place Hoskins on the disabled list.
Hoskins will likely miss a few weeks. He rested his jaw Wednesday by drinking a heavy diet of smoothies. Anything to ease the pain of opening his mouth. And perhaps a few weeks away can provide Hoskins a chance to reset his season.