Phils Back in Action Tonight As Hamels', Polanco's Conditions Updated

Phils Back in Action Tonight As Hamels', Polanco's Conditions Updated

Seems like it's been forever since the Phillies last took the diamond, in part because they've only played two games in the previous five days. The lull ends right now though, as they welcome the NL West-leading Diamondbacks to Citizens Bank Park for a possible landscape-altering three game set.

More on tonight's match after the jump, but first, the updates on a couple of banged up Phils.

Hamels Avoids the DL
The results on Cole Hamels' MRI came back, and while they didn't show any serious damage to Cole's pitching shoulder, there was some inflammation. For now, the plan is to hold him out of his next start, which was scheduled for Friday. Based on the Phillies' web site, CSN surmised that Roy Oswalt could be in line to take his place.

Overall, this doesn't seem like a huge deal right now. It might not be a bad idea to get these guys a little additional rest before the post-season anyway, and there is certainly no need to take risks with an 8.5-game lead in the division. Still, it's a situation to monitor when Cole makes his next appearance.

Polanco Out
David Murphy is reporting Placido Polanco is not in tonight's lineup, which could spell bad news for the All Star third baseman. On Friday, Polly told reporters that if he wasn't able to play by today, he might be headed for surgery to take care of a sports hernia. Murphy continues that Polanco was seen taking some infield practice earlier.

Martinez is at third tonight, and will bat eighth.

Losing Polanco until the post-season would be an unfavorable result, but he hasn't exactly been himself after jumping out to a roaring start. Polanco hit .398 for the month of April, dipping down to .248 in May, and .213 in June before he ultimately went on the DL effective July 5. He's hit .292 since he returned, but hasn't been in the lineup going on seven straight games.

Last Meeting/Tonight's Pitching Match-up
The Phillies were last in Arizona back in April, where the DBacks took two of three, beating Oswalt and Cliff Lee in the process. Tonight, they draw Cy Young. (Yes, we are aware this is the first mention of Doc in this gamethread.)

While Roy Halladay will go out and do what Roy Halladay does, the offense will get their first good look at Arizona rookie Josh Collmenter (7-7, 3.51). The 25-year-old righty made one relief appearance against the Fightins on April 27, throwing a scoreless, runner-less eighth inning with one K in a losing effort.

On a personal note, I'd be interested to see what the Phillies' offensive numbers are like when facing a starter for the first time. I can think of a few occasions this season where they  absolutely lit a guy up, but many more instances when they were completely shut down.

We'll see if they can take advantage of Collmenter, who worked a solid seven innings in his most recent outing versus Houston, but was rocked by the Dodgers in each of his previous two starts, allowing 11 earned runs in a combined six innings of work.

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."