March 06, 2016
CLEARWATER, Fla. – When the Phillies returned to the home clubhouse at Bright House Field on Sunday afternoon following pregame batting practice, Aaron Altherr was in street clothes, looking like a guy ready to hit the road for the day.
Instead, he was off to a flight bound for Philadelphia.
Altherr, who suffered a left wrist injury while diving for a ball on Friday in Clearwater and had yet to have an X-ray as of Sunday morning, will have his ailing hand examined on Monday. Beyond that, there is no clear indication of when he’ll return to camp or the severity of the injury.
“He’s seeing a hand specialist at some point tomorrow,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “Then we’ll go from there and see what’s up. … We’ll see what they say.”
Altherr’s presence in the clubhouse on Sunday was brief. Mackanin was asked if his potential Opening Day starting right fielder had reported more pain in the 24 hours since he told the media it wasn’t an injury he was particularly worried about.
“I really didn’t see him,” Mackanin said. “I’m leaving it up to the medical people and we’ll see what they come up with.”
The 25-year-old Altherr hit .241 with five home runs, 11 doubles and an .827 OPS in 39 games with the Phillies last season, his first with regular time in the big leagues. Heading into spring training, Altherr was a front-runner to win a regular outfield job with fellow defensive stalwarts Peter Bourjos and Odubel Herrera.
Should Altherr have to miss time, Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel could work his way into more regular playing time.
Cody Asche has taken a couple of important steps to getting back on the field from the right oblique injury that’s sidelined him for the last 11 days.
Asche hit off a tee on Saturday and expected to take swings off soft toss throws on Sunday. Asche, 25, is also competing for a job in the outfield after beginning each of the last two seasons as the team’s starting third baseman.
“Cody has got a little more of a smile on his face because he feels like he’s getting better and the symptoms are almost gone,” Mackanin said. “He’s anxious to get out there and I’m anxious to see him out there.”
Catching prospect Andrew Knapp, the designated hitter in Sunday’s 6-5 win over the New York Yankees, launched a three-run home run to fuel the Phillies six-run sixth inning. Knapp is hitting .571 (4-for-7) with a home run, a double, and two walks in three games this spring. “He’s got a great swing from both sides of the plate,” Mackanin said. “He looks like a hitter, he looks like he knows what he’s doing from the left and right sides and it’s good to see. He’s got some power. A nice swing.” … Right-hander Vincent Velasquez and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, who both came over the in Ken Giles trade, are scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. Both are competing for the fifth spot in the Phillies rotation. … A sell-out crowd of 9,877 were at Bright House Field to see the Phillies-Yankees game on Sunday. A good portion of them were in the press box covering Masahiro Tanaka.