Phillies Injury Update: Aaron Altherr out; Cesar Hernandez, Vince Velasquez likely back this week

Phillies Injury Update: Aaron Altherr out; Cesar Hernandez, Vince Velasquez likely back this week

MILWAUKEE — Aaron Altherr was feeling better Saturday but was unavailable when the Phillies faced the Brewers in the second of a three-game series at Miller Park.

Altherr suffered a mild strain of the right hamstring while running out a fifth-inning double — his second of the game — and had to leave the contest.

It's a big blow for the Phillies' offense. Altherr was batting .288 with 20 doubles, three triples and 14 home runs this season and his .898 OPS is 13th among qualified outfielders this season.

"He's an all-around good player," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. "I've been on guard for that slump that he might go through where he goes 2 for 40 and starts changing his approach, but the reason for his success is he's changed his swing path so drastically. He's so short to the ball now, there's no reason why he shouldn't continue to hit."

With Altherr out, manager Pete Mackanin moved Nick Williams into Altherr's spot in right and put Daniel Nava in the leadoff spot. 

While Altherr is expected to miss at least a few games, the Phillies did get some good news on the injury front Saturday.

Infielder Cesar Hernandez (strained left oblique) will finish out a minor league rehab assignment this weekend with Class A Clearwater and is expected to join the team Monday in Miami while right-hander Vince Velasquez is likely to return from the disabled list and start Tuesday against the Marlins. 

Velasquez has been out since May 31 with a strained flexor in his right elbow.

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

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USA Today Images

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

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CSN

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