Phillies setup man Mike Adams has been dealing with back spasms since Tuesday and hasn't thrown a ball since.
Adams had an MRI on his ailing back Friday morning and it revealed a very mild mid-back strain, according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
“I got the MRI more just for certainty, for answers, just so I know exactly what I’m dealing with, just so if it is anything of any type of severity I want to take my time rather than rush back,” Adams said.
Adams was expecting to return Sunday, but those hopes might be dashed with the injury showing little improvement over the last few days.
“The main thing is to be smart about this right now,” Adams said. “I don't know what the situation is. I was hoping for Sunday to be back out, but I really don't know right now.
Adams doesn't want to end up on the disabled list, but the 34-year-old reliever knows it won't help to rush back from his injury.
“We haven’t talked at all about it (going on the disabled list) yet. I have a lot of incentive not to go on the DL just for contract reasons, but at the same time I don't want to make this something worse than what it is,” Adams said.
“I don't want to go out there and hurt the team. I don't want to be that guy who tries to be a hero and we’re up one run and all of a sudden I can't do my job and now we’re down by three and I cost my team a win.”
Manager Charlie Manuel was also hesitant to commit to whether Adams would be placed on the DL saying, “I think they’re still checking him out.”
If Adams does not return by early next week for the Phils' series against the Marlins, then he will most likely be placed on the DL, according to Amaro.
The Phillies can use all the help they can get in the bullpen right now. Their bullpen ERA of 4.18 ranks 23rd in the league and opponents are hitting .257 against them -- only four MLB teams have a worst BAA (Dodgers, Mets, Cardinals, Astros).
Adams has an ERA of 3.00 with five runs allowed in 15 innings pitched. He ranks ninth in the NL amongst relievers in strikeouts per nine innings pitched with 11.4.
Still, the Phillies are worried about Adams' health and the state of how things will be handled in the eighth inning moving forward.
“I’m concerned about him. I’m concerned because he’s our eighth-inning guy and we already have trouble getting to our eighth-inning guy as it is,” Manuel said.
Antonio Bastardo will take over that role while Adams continues to recover.
“Bastardo is that guy now. He’s been that guy [before],” Manuel said.
Bastardo has a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings pitched this season, a vast improvement on last year’s ERA of 4.33. He has pitched in 16 games and has given up runs in only three of those appearances. He has also held opponents to a .222 average in 2013.
Against Cincinnati, the Phillies' opponent for this weekend’s three-game series, Bastardo has a career ERA of 2.08 in 8 2/3 innings pitched.
The Phillies' overall pitching did not fare well against the Reds when the two teams met in April, giving up 16 runs for a combined ERA of 5.63.
The Phillies have done marginally better over the last six games, with a team ERA of 3.40. That's a stark contrast to their performance over the season as a whole, as the Phillies rank 22nd in the majors in ERA with a mark of 4.20.