Monday evening marks the highly anticipated Game 2 of the NLDS matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves at Truist Park. The Phillies secured a victory in Game 1 (), leaving the Braves scoreless at home for the first time since August 28, 2021. Baseball fans worldwide are eager to witness Game 2 as Atlanta strives to level the series.
During a recent interview, Phillies manager Rob Thomson provided an update on injured first baseman Rhys Hoskins. Despite not playing this season due to tearing his ACL near the end of spring training, Hoskins has made significant progress with his rehabilitation at the team’s spring training complex in Florida. Thomson did not rule out the possibility of Hoskins returning for the NLCS.
This scenario has historical precedence. Kyle Schwarber, formerly with the Chicago Cubs, tore his ACL on April 7, 2016, yet made a remarkable recovery in time to contribute as a pinch-hitter and designated hitter during the World Series. With Hoskins tearing his ACL on March 23, a similar timeline could potentially lead to his return in the NLCS if the Phillies advance.
“We have seen tremendous progress from Hoskins,” Thomson informed NBC Sports Philadelphia two weeks ago. “He has been hitting on the field, taking numerous swings daily. He recently ran the bases, demonstrating significant improvement.”
Philadelphia struggled to find a consistent first baseman until Bryce Harper was cleared for throwing in late July. Harper has since taken on the role of the everyday first baseman during the postseason. Assuming Hoskins is unable to return to the field upon his comeback, it would require Schwarber to transition from designated hitter to left field, potentially compromising the outfield defense. Alternatively, Hoskins could exclusively serve as a pinch-hitter.
As an injury replacement for Hoskins, rookie reliever Orion Kerkering has earned a spot on the postseason roster. If Hoskins is activated, Kerkering can remain on the roster as Dylan Covey’s replacement, utilizing the injury exemption rule, as Covey’s 15-day injured list stint expires the day before Game 1 of the NLCS.
Last season, Hoskins, aged 30, boasted an impressive .246/.332/.462 slash line with 30 home runs in 156 games. He also hit six home runs in 17 postseason games. As he enters free agency after this season, Hoskins has the opportunity to showcase his skills not only in the Phillies’ pursuit of a World Series victory but also to attract potential suitors.