Former Phillies prospect Matt Imhof retires 7 months after gruesome eye injury

Former Phillies prospect Matt Imhof retires 7 months after gruesome eye injury

Matt Imhof, the left-handed pitcher the Phillies drafted in the second round in 2014, announced his retirement Wednesday, seven months after suffering a gruesome training accident that resulted in the loss of his right eye.

Imhof announced he's moving on in a revealing and powerful first-hand account of the incident at ESPN.com.

In it, Imhof describes the agony and fear he felt in those initial moments after the freak accident, which forced him to undergo two eye surgeries.

"It was my normal postgame routine to use exercise bands after I pitched. They were already hooked to the wall when I walked into the athletic training room, so I grabbed them and started my workout.

"Same thing, different day.

"It was the fifth repetition on the second set of my third exercise. I was facing the wall, about 25-30 feet away from it, with a band in each hand. I pulled them back hard above my head so that my right hand was above my right ear and my left hand was above my left ear. As I got to the top of my motion, I felt the tension break.

"It's a surreal moment; the moment you realize you're screwed and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it."

Imhof described hitting rock bottom — he was depressed, scared and angry that baseball had been taken away from him. 

"I wasn't Matt Imhof anymore; I was a shell of him," he told ESPN. "The real Matt Imhof died in that training room along with his future. The only thing that defined me now was an injury."

But after being picked up by one of his surgeons, Imhof broke out of his funk and focused on moving forward.

"I had to relearn how to walk down stairs, how to drive and even how to play catch," he wrote. "Routine things like walking in crowds became hard, but I soon realized the physical limitations of my injury weren't the only things standing in my way of a normal life.

"I eventually figured out that the only way for other people to see me without seeing my injury was if I was able to do it first. ... My identity used to be wrapped around baseball, it was who I was. This injury allowed me to see past that. I might not want the same things as I used to, but that's only because I have learned more about myself than I ever thought I would."

Imhof is now back in school at Can Poly San Luis Obispo, taking classes in business finance and serving as the undergraduate assistant pitching coach for the baseball team. 

He's unsure what the future holds, but his playing days are over.

The ESPN piece is well worth reading and can be found here.

Phillies recall Jake Thompson from Triple A, option Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley

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Phillies recall Jake Thompson from Triple A, option Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley

After Monday night's rain-soaked blowout loss, the Phillies' bullpen seems to be a bit depleted.

With that in mind, the Phillies have recalled pitcher Jake Thompson from Triple A and optioned reliever Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley.

After a lengthy rain delay cut short Vince Velasquez's start, the Phils' bullpen was charged with six innings of work in the 13-4 loss. Pinto, responsible for five of the runs, tossed 1 1/3 innings as play resumed in the fourth inning. 

He may not be down for long, though, as the Phils have an off day Thursday to recover.

Thompson seems like a peculiar choice to call up. He's struggled mightily this year in Lehigh Valley. The 23-year-old who came over in the Cole Hamels trade, is 4-11 with a 5.36 ERA. He's given up 107 hits in 94 innings pitched, as well as 36 walks on the year — one less than he gave up in 129 2/3 innings in 2016.

However, Thompson is already on the 40-man roster and has not pitched since going seven strong innings of two-run ball on July 20. 

Tonight's lineup: Phillies showcasing Howie Kendrick in cleanup spot

Tonight's lineup: Phillies showcasing Howie Kendrick in cleanup spot

With less than a week to go before the trade deadline, the Phillies are putting Howie Kendrick in prime position to show off his skillset to a contender.

After sitting out last night's 14-3 loss, Kendrick returns to the lineup, batting cleanup and playing left field. In four games since returning from a hamstring injury, Kendrick has picked up where he left off, hitting .364 with two RBIs. Overall, Kendrick has appeared in just 37 games for the Phillies in 2017, but has been exceptional when healthy. 

Although he may not hit for power, his .350 batting average and ability to play multiple positions in the infield and outfield should be enough to interest teams. 

Cesar Hernandez will again lead off vs. the Astros. Much like Kendrick, Hernandez has had a strong return from the DL, hitting .321 with six RBIs in seven games since the All-Star break. He's also worked five walks compared to just three strikeouts. It's no surprise Hernandez's return has coincided with the Phillies' recent hot offensive stretch (see Game Notes)

Since the All-Star break, the Phillies have the seventh-most runs scored in all of baseball. Monday's loss ended a stretch of seven straight games of five or more runs scored for the Phillies — their longest single-season stretch since 2005.

Nick Williams will hit in the three-hole for the second straight game. Williams has sparked the Phils' stagnant offense since his arrival to the big leagues. In 20 MLB games, Williams is slashing .315/.350/.966 with four homers and 18 RBIs. 

Here is the Phillies lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Howie Kendrick, LF
5. Odubel Herrera, CF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Tommy Joseph, 1B
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Nick Pivetta, P

And for the Astros:
1. Jose Altuve, 2B
2. Josh Reddick, RF
3. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
4. Evan Gattis, C
5. Marwin Gonzalez, SS
6. Derek Fisher, CF
7. Alex Bregman, 3B
8. Norichika Aoki, LF
9. Charlie Morton, P