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The Phillies are set to activate utilityman Scott Kingery from the 10-day injured list, Matt Gelb of The Athletic tweets. The club has confirmed Kingery’s activation, adding that it has optioned outfielder Nick Williams to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies have been without Kingery since he landed on the IL on April 19 with a right hamstring strain. Before that, Kingery looked to be establishing himself in the majors after a rough rookie season in 2018. Along with slashing .406/.457/.719 (208 wRC+) with two home runs in 35 big league plate appearances, the versatile Kingery has seen action at shortstop, third base, second base and in left field this year. He’ll add another position on Sunday – center field – Gelb reports.
The Phillies have gotten next to nothing from center fielder Odubel Herrera or third baseman Maikel Franco this year, so Kingery could potentially see plenty of time at those spots as the season progresses. Despite the struggles of those two starters, the Phillies are 26-19 and leading the National League East by a game and a half over the Braves.
Williams, 25, hasn’t played in the minors since 2017, making his trip to Lehigh Valley particularly notable. Since Williams’ midseason promotion to the majors two years ago, the former top 100 prospect has amassed 856 PA and offered roughly league-average offense (.262/.322/.431 with 30 home runs – good for a 101 wRC+). However, Williams has struggled in the outfield, as shown by his minus-30 Defensive Runs Saved and minus-12 Ultimate Zone Rating, thereby limiting him to replacement-level value. He’s also hitting at a career-worst level this year, with a .180/.231/.262 line (33 wRC+), a single homer and 18 strikeouts against two walks in 65 tries.
Because Williams hasn’t quite panned out since the Phillies acquired him from the Rangers as part of a 2015 trade for Cole Hamels, Philly made other corner outfield arrangements this past offseason. They brought in high-priced free agents Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen to take over for Williams and Aaron Altherr, the latter of whom joined the Giants via waivers last weekend after the Phillies designated him for assignment.
In other news involving the Philadelphia relief corps, righty David Robertson has been advised not to throw for at least three more weeks, as Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer was among those to cover on Twitter. The hope is that rest will cure Robertson’s flexor strain, though it remains to be seen how he’ll respond when the time comes. Once he resumes throwing, the veteran will need to ramp up before he’s ready to pitch again in the majors.
Ramos, 26, had a fine showing last year for the Phis. He has not been quite as good out of the gates in 2019, however, having allowed five earned runs on a dozen hits while compiling a 7:4 K/BB ratio over 9 2/3 innings.
There’s some obvious cause for concern in Ramos’s radar-gun readings. He has dropped a full 2 mph on his average four-seamer and even more on his heavily-used slider. Unsurprisingly, his swinging-strike rate has suffered, though Ramos is still drawing loads of soft contact (32.3%).
In the aggregate, there’s quite a lot of uncertainty for a pair of hurlers who were expected to occupy significant roles in 2019. Bullpen issues haven’t kept the club from a strong overall start, and there’s still time for internal solutions to emerge, but the Phillies currently project as a clear buyer of relief pitching at this season’s trade deadline.
The Giants claimed Aaron Altherr from the Phillies yesterday, though the outfielder has been on San Francisco’s radar for a while. According to NBC Sports.com’s Alex Pavlovic, the Giants first asked the Phils about Altherr two months ago, when Bryce Harper’s arrival created a surplus in the Philadelphia outfield. Giants skipper Bruce Bochy said Altherr’s arrival won’t impact Mac Williamson’s status as the team’s regular left fielder, as Williamson will be given an extended look as an everyday player. Altherr, meanwhile, “be eased in,” Pavlovic writes, both because Altherr hasn’t played much in recent weeks and because Altherr has struggled since the start of the 2018 season.comments powered by Disqus