Rob Thomson was in a good mood Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, as he typically is. The Philadelphia Phillies interim manager was pleased to see the Canadian flag flying at the stadium, and with the Toronto Blue Jays in town, Thomson is hopeful to hear “O Canada” before the teams begin a two-game set this evening.
The Ontario native is also hoping to have Nick Castellanos back in the lineup before the postseason, and it sounds as though things are moving in the right direction.
Castellanos — who is working his way back from a right oblique strain — did some on-field work Tuesday, and the plan was for him to take batting practice in the cage. If all goes well, the 30-year-old could begin a rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, according to Thomson. The Phillies had to “back off a bit” last week when Castellanos experienced some stiffness while taking swings.
It’s been a relatively disappointing first season with the Phillies for Castellanos, who signed a five-year/$100 million free-agent deal in March. He has driven in 61 runs, but after posting a career-high .939 OPS in 2021, Castellanos’ OPS in 2022 is .702. He’s been forced to play right field much more than anticipated as Bryce Harper has dealt with multiple injuries, including a UCL tear that continues to limit him to DH. Castellanos has -11 defensive runs saved and -10 outs above average this year. He also has -0.7 WAR, per FanGraphs.
Still, if the Phillies can get Castellanos’ bat back for a potential postseason run, they would enter October with one of the deepest lineups in the sport.
- Zach Eflin was not available Saturday or Sunday in Atlanta, as he dealt with back spasms. The plan, per Thomson, was for Eflin to “touch the mound” Tuesday to make sure he’s good to go whenever he’s next needed in relief. After a right knee injury cost him all of July and August, Eflin needed just 11 pitches to retire the side in his return to the mound in Miami last Wednesday.
- J.T. Realmuto, Alec Bohm, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson missed the Phillies’ series in Toronto in mid-July because they weren’t vaccinated against COVID-19, and therefore ineligible to enter Canada. There’s an extremely outside chance that the Phillies could see the Blue Jays in the World Series, but it sounds as though vaccination status wouldn’t be an issue if that were to happen. Eric Atkins and Robert Fife of The Globe and Mail reported Tuesday that Canada is planning to end their requirement to be vaccinated to enter the country at the end of September.
- Thomson acknowledged that Zack Wheeler will have some sort of limit when he returns for the Phillies Wednesday, but declined to get into specifics. Noah Syndergaard is expected to piggyback with Wheeler, but he isn’t going to come in mid-inning if Wheeler gets in a jam.
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- Phillies Nation Top 15 Prospects
- Here’s How Much The Phillies Will Pay In Luxury Tax Penalties In 2022
- Anonymous Scout Says Andrew Painter Is Already One Of The 5 Best Starters In Phillies Organization
- How Many Wins Do The Phillies Need To Make The Playoffs?
- Grading Each Of The Phillies’ Trade Deadline Pickups To This Point
- Report: Phillies Would Be ‘Eager Suitors’ For Xander Bogaerts
- ‘It’s A Pretty Split Subject’: Phillies React To New MLB Rules Set To Take Effect In 2023
- J.T. Realmuto’s All-Around Excellence Could Lead To Down-Ballot MVP Votes
- ‘I Don’t Have A Lot Of Quit In Me’: David Robertson Is Making The Most Of His Second Chance With The Phillies
- Phillies 2022 Walk-Up Songs