March 26, 2015
First, there was Cliff Lee's disastrous spring, and now all of this. The Phillies are getting injured down in Clearwater like it's an NFL Training Camp:
Let's go through three of the Phillies' most recent setbacks, in order of seriousness:
1. Mario Hollands' Elbow: There are no more three terrifying words in sports than "Dr. James Andrews," and Hollands is in the process of scheduling an appointment in Alabama to receive a second opinion from the well-know physician. After making the team out of Clearwater as an unknown and exceeding expectations in the 2014 bullpen (while not necessarily setting the world on fire with a 4.50 ERA), the 26-year-old reliever is suffering from the same strained common flexor tendon that has placed Lee's season in serious jeopardy. Here's what CSN's Jim Salisbury wrote:
Hollands was still holding out a glimmer of hope that the injury would heal with rest and rehab, but this is his second flareup with the injury and that’s usually a sign that surgery is needed. Surgery would cost Hollands the season.
In Lee's case, there's no making up for lost time at this stage of his career and also a question of how many bullets his arm still has left in it. Hollands, who had a decent chance of making the Opening Day roster, is still fairly young and has the possibility of pitching a lot longer. From the sound of things, it seems like he'll have surgery and sit out the season. Maybe Hollands will be able to make some further inroads into the fashion industry during the time away from the diamond.
2. J.P. Crawford's Oblique: The Phillies' prized prospect will be sidelined four to six weeks with a strain in his ribcage area. The 20-year-old shortstop's season isn't in any danger, but the timetable has been moved back. Also from Salisbury's piece:
“It’s a setback for about a month,” said Joe Jordan, the Phils’ director of player development. “But it changes nothing in our hope that he gets a good part of the year at Double A. It just sets everything back about a month.”
In particular, the news stinks for those Phillies fans that make perusing the minor league box scores part of their daily ritual because Crawford's name probably won't appear in any of them until early May. It still sounds like most of his year will be spent in Reading while Freddy Galvis or someone else keeps his seat warm in Philadelphia.
3. Cody Asche's Back: This one might not be a very big deal, but the Phillies third baseman couldn't go against the Blue Jays today in Dunedin, which is easily my favorite name of a spring training city. Plus, three is always better than two for presentation purposes: