April 11, 2023
Rhys Hoskins stood in front of the media at Citizens Bank Park on Monday for the first time since his ACL tear late in the spring, fully aware of the long road back that lies ahead of him.
The first baseman doesn't have to think about it. He can feel it.
"Physically, I feel like had surgery 10 days ago," Hoskins said while propped up on crutches, but he's happy to be on the other side of it and doing as good as he can in the early going of his recovery.
Playing in the regular season is well out of the question now, but Hoskins – the Phillies' longest-tenured position player – said he plans to be around the team as much as possible while he rehabs.
It'll help, both himself and within the clubhouse, all while holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, he can swing a bat for the Phillies again in late October should they make it all the way back there.
There's precedent for it after all, and he doesn't have to look far to find it.
"The doctors say 7-9 months," Hoskins said. "I think every athlete's mindset is to beat whatever the doctors says, so I'm gonna continue with that. We also have a guy here that had the same or similar injury and was able to contribute in the World Series, so I'm gonna hold on to that."
That guy was Kyle Schwarber.
Two games into his 2016 season with the Cubs, he collided with Dexter Fowler in the outfield trying to track down a fly ball. His left knee got taken out from under him and an MRI later confirmed the worst: A torn ACL and LCL. His regular season was done, but his story was far from over.
While the Cubs were piecing together a run, Schwarber's recovery progressed way faster than expected, so much so to the point where, just 204 days later, he was added to their World Series roster and in the lineup for Game 1 in Cleveland as the designated hitter.
He went on to hit .412 in the series – splitting between DH and pinch-hit spots – with seven hits, a double, and a .971 OPS, helping push the Cubs to their first title in 108 years.
Hoskins said Schwarber has been "an incredible sounding board" for him since he already went through a near-identical situation and he expects to go back and forth with him more as his rehab moves forward and reaches new milestones.
The 30-year-old said that, right now, he'll be on crutches for about six weeks, then the focus will be on building strength back up in his quads before he can start looking at running and jogging again at around the three-month mark.
The injury, and his road back, also run adjacent to him being due up for a new contract at the end of the year, but he said that with everything going on now, that's way too far ahead to worry about.
"Right now it's just about the small wins that I'm gonna have to focus on throughout this rehab," he said, that and the hope that, if the Phillies make it back, he can offer a bat to help push them to a title come late October.
"I'm gonna do everything in my power to get myself an opportunity that if and when we're playing in late October, I have a chance to contribute to that."
All of Philadelphia will be pulling for that scenario.
Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports