Casper Wells, shown here during the Phillies' 18-inning loss on Saturday, is hitting just .128 overall this season. (AP)
NEW YORK -- Maybe Casper Wells’ problems at the plate are as simple as this:
He can’t see.
Wells went 0 for 7 with four strikeouts in Saturday night’s 18-inning loss to Arizona. He also took the loss on the mound when the Phillies ran out of pitchers.
But the troubling part of Wells’ short time with the Phillies is this: He is 1 for 23 with eight strikeouts.
On Sunday, Wells went to manager Ryne Sandberg and admitted that he’s having trouble seeing the ball -- not just at the plate, everywhere, even in the outfield.
“The ball looks blurry to him,” Sandberg said.
The Phils placed Wells on the disabled list Monday and brought up utility man Pete Orr from Triple A Lehigh Valley.
Wells will be examined by eye specialists this week in Philadelphia.
GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wells had LASIK surgery last fall and has had some complications.
“He really hadn’t told anybody about it until now,” Amaro said. “He went to Ryne and said that he was fearful that he was going to get injured because he wasn’t able to pick up the ball, and he wasn’t able to play at an optimal level because he couldn’t see.
“You don’t know if he was struggling or not seeing the ball well, but obviously he was having those issues, so that could be part of it. He wasn’t making excuses. He just wants to get to the bottom of it.”
Overall this season, Wells has played for three teams and is hitting .128
(12 for 94) with 31 strikeouts.
Brown getting close
Domonic Brown was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game Monday night. He has battled some soreness in his right Achilles tendon since hitting the first base bag awkwardly Friday night.
Sandberg said the Phillies were not considering the disabled list for Brown.
“Just day to day,” Sandberg said.
Brown was available for pinch-hitting duty.
Far out of contention, the Phillies over the final weeks of the season are evaluating a number of players and their possible roles in the future. Roger Bernadina is getting looks in the outfield along with Darin Ruf. Cody Asche is being evaluated at third base. Roy Halladay’s health and effectiveness are being gauged. Even free-agent-to-be Carlos Ruiz is under the microscope.
Could Edinson Volquez be next? The right-hander has been released by San Diego.
“We’ve talked about it internally,” Amaro said.
Volquez went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA for the Reds in 2008. He had Tommy John surgery the next year and has struggled to replicate that success. He had a 6.01 ERA in 27 starts for the Padres this season.
In 2010, Volquez was found in violation of MLB’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs and served a 50-game suspension.
Harvey shut down
Speaking of Tommy John surgery, the Mets shut down hard-throwing phenom Matt Harvey with a partially torn ulna collateral ligament on Monday (see story). Rest has been prescribed, but surgery is a possibility. If Harvey needs ligament-replacement surgery (Tommy John), he will likely miss next season.
The 24-year-old right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies. He has allowed just 15 hits and eight walks while striking out 38 in 33 1/3 innings against the Phillies.
Harvey was supposed to face the Phillies on Thursday. Right-hander Carlos Torres will fill that spot.
In the fraternity of baseball, no one is ever happy to hear of an injury, even when it happens to an opponent.
“He’s a bright star, one of the best we’ve seen this year,” Sandberg said. “You hate to see that. It’s a shame.”