Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins has torn ACL, will need surgery
An MRI conducted Thursday afternoon revealed the news the Phillies did not want to hear: Rhys Hoskins has a torn left ACL and will require reconstructive surgery.
Hoskins injured his left knee going back on a groundball at first base in the second inning of Thursday’s spring training game. He fell to the ground after reaching the outfield grass, clutching his knee after the non-contact injury.
Hoskins has not been ruled out for the season but a torn ACL usually costs a player that much time, with the standard recovery for a baseball player lasting about nine months.
This is a brutal blow for the player and team. This was Hoskins’ contract year. Instead of putting up big numbers ahead of free agency, he’ll enter it rehabbing a serious injury.
The Phillies are losing a player who played in 156 games in 2022, hit 30 homers in the regular season then six more in the playoffs. Hoskins’ .794 OPS ranked 11th among all first basemen.
They’re also losing one of their leaders, the second-longest-tenured Phillie after Aaron Nola.
“Our hearts are so heavy for him because we all know how much he means to this team, the clubhouse, the camaraderie,” Nick Castellanos said. “I always say that he’s kind of like our spokesperson. He’s the guy who steps up and talks to the team whenever something needs to be addressed. He’s really good at all that stuff and he’s really important to what we have.”
Bailey Falter referred to Hoskins as the mayor of Philadelphia. “In my eyes, he’s like Mr. Phillie,” Falter said.
Exploring a trade is always a possibility when a team with high expectations suffers an injury like this, but the Phillies do have a few internal options. One is left-handed-hitting Darick Hall, who had 18 extra-base hits in just 142 plate appearances last summer filling in for Bryce Harper as the DH and has crushed the ball in spring training. The Phillies could start Hall at first base against right-handed pitchers and start another lefty like Jake Cave in the corner outfield, with Kyle Schwarber or Castellanos serving as the DH.
Against lefties, the Phillies could start Edmundo Sosa. One option would be shifting Alec Bohm from third base to first base and putting the sure-handed Sosa at third. Another would be simply playing Sosa or Josh Harrison at first base.
If the Phillies do look for outside help, there are a couple of right-handed-hitting veterans in the NL West who could be available. Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron is a free agent after the season for a team headed nowhere in 2023. Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker, reportedly dangled by Arizona last summer at the trade deadline, is a free agent after 2024 and would cost more. He’s coming off a career year with 36 homers and 94 RBI.
Yuli Gurriel, the 38-year-old former Astros first baseman, might not make the Marlins’ opening-day roster and could be another right-handed option if he’s cut. He hit .319 in 2021 to win the AL batting title but took a big step back last regular season. He hit .347 in 50 plate appearances in the playoffs en route to a ring.