Bryson Stott’s wait for a major league return hasn’t been long.
The Phillies shortstop was recalled from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Saturday with Didi Gregorius placed on the 10-day injured list with a knee problem.
Gregorius strained his MCL in a collision in shallow left field with Kyle Schwarber in the seventh inning Wednesday night against Texas. He finished the game but reported stiffness the next day which prompted an MRI.
The move is retroactive to Thursday. Manager Joe Girardi hopes it will be a short-term stint on the shelf.
“He finished the game and we waited for him to come back the next day to see how he was doing,” Girardi said Saturday, before the Phillies’ afternoon game against the Mets fell in the rain. “It was just stiff, so we ended up having an MRI which showed slight tension. We thought IL was best.
Gregorius had two spells of IL last year, missing six weeks with a right elbow impingement. He already missed a week in April after being hit in the hand with a pitch. After playing all 60 games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he was limited to 103 games last year.
This gives Stott a chance to establish himself among the greats. The top prospect brought the team out of the spring, but as he struggled in the majors, his playing time dwindled. In nine games, he went 4 for 30 with 10 strikeouts. In the interest of having him play regularly, he was sent to Lehigh Valley on April 25.
He found his footing there, batting 12 for 36 with two home runs and a .986 OPS in nine games.
“The most important thing was to stay ready,” Stott said. “The first day it was still a bit weird that I was sent off, and we had the rain, so that kind of helped, and just getting back into the rhythm.”
The plan for the next stretch is to get Stott started regularly in the short term. This allows Johan Camargo to fill all four positions on the pitch.
Stott was so eager to get back to playing games that he jumped into the Lehigh Valley roster whenever he could, around a rainstorm on the first day of his return, which earned him a wry smile.
“I was joking that I had sat out enough games that I didn’t need to take my three days,” he said. “I wanted to play”
His goal was not to chase the pitches out of his zone and let the play come to him. The confidence of being in training every day has helped.
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“It’s just swinging on the right grounds,” Stott said, “and kind of staying within myself and doing my walks when they’re presented to me and trying not to overdo it, in a way.”
Another wash: For the second day in a row, the Phils rained against the Mets. They will play, Easter permitting, a single-entry doubleheader on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. (doubleheader is back to nine innings this year.)
If you keep the score at home, it makes this week’s ledger: loss to New York, day off, loss to Texas, loss to Texas, historic loss after leading by six points in ninth, then two rains .
And the effect of it all is…
“It’s hard to say, because a lot of times you’ll have four in the All-Star Break and you’ll play really well,” Girardi said. “It gives our guys a chance to rest and then we go back.”
The Phillies will face nine games in eight days, the double dip preceding a flight to Seattle for a game late Monday. They follow three in Seattle with four in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Their next day off is May 16, which is followed by a 16-game streak of daunting starts – San Diego, Dodgers, Atlanta, Mets, San Francisco.
From the notebook: Kyle Gibson (2-1, 2.93 ERA), originally slated to pitch on Friday, will be on the hump on Sunday. Max Scherzer (4-0, 2.61) must also leave. Girardi plans to use Gibson and Zach Eflin (1-2, 4.50), although he acknowledged, “We have people who are in bad weather right now,” with Eflin in that group. Chris Bassitt (3-2, 3.61) will also start for the Mets. … Camargo was scored on first base Saturday. He has only played two career MLB games there. He played 59 games in that position with Gwinnett, the Braves’ triple-A team, in 2021. “He understands the position,” Girardi said. “And obviously when you’re not playing there every day, you don’t necessarily get all the games that you would have if you were playing every day, but I’m going to move him, because he’s capable and he’s played all the positions .” … Camargo was spelling Rhys Hoskins, who would have dodged Scherzer. He’s 1 for 26 in his career against the Cy Young Award winner. Hoskins is 4 for 35 in his last nine games. … Nick Castellanos was in the lineup after left Thursday after being hit by a pitch.Girardi said Castellanos told him it would have been good to play on Friday.He has a bruised wrist, X-rays are negative.