Thomson doesn’t commit to Turner in 2-hole; Hoskins update
Phillies notes: Thomson doesn’t commit to Turner in 2-hole; Hoskins update originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
This time, Trea Turner didn’t get to decide.
After another 0-fer that dropped his batting average to .245 and elicited another round boos from the Citizens Bank Park seats, Phillies manager Rob Thomson sat the slumping shortstop Wednesday night against the Orioles. The move came one night after his offer for a rest was declined.
“I just took (the choice) away from him,” Thomson said.
The impetus to make the move now is that the Phillies are off Thursday, meaning that Turner will get two days off before play resumes in Pittsburgh on Friday night. In the bigger picture, something needed to be done. A career .302 hitter coming into the season who signed a $300 million free agent contract last December, he’s hitting .213 since July 1 with a .613 OPS.
The manager thinks Turner is simply trying too hard. “No doubt,” he said. “That’s usually a lot of (why hitters) go into slumps or hard times. It’s just a day off. Give him a little break. I like doing it either before a day off or after a day off so you get two full days. And he’ll be back out there Friday.”
He did not commit to having him batting in his usual No. 2 spot in the order against the Pirates. That’s a decision that requires a lot of conversations, especially with hitting coach Kevin Long, he said. “And it’s not just about how it will impact the player who’s being pushed down the lineup.
“Also moving a guy up,” he added. “Because maybe he’s really comfortable hitting down in the order. There’s not a whole lot of pressure, or whatever you want to call it. Making sure you’re doing the right thing by him and not putting too much pressure on him.”
Sometimes when a regular gets a day off, he uses the time to get in some extra work. Thomson wanted Turner to take the opposite approach. “I’d just rather he not do anything,” the manager explained. “He’s been doing a bunch of work lately and maybe it’s too much.”
As a result, Turner was not going to play Wednesday night except in case of an emergency.
Thomson conceded that he can’t explain why the shortstop is struggling so badly. “Every day I think he’s going to get back to being who he is,” he insisted. “It’s going to happen. I’m sure. It’s just a matter of when and I think, as a group, that at some point this offense is going to explode. Because we’re just a lot better than what we’re hitting right now.”
Turner was not available before Wednesday night’s game.
Rob Thomson sent up a flare on his weekly radio show Wednesday when he suggested first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who tore his left ACL during spring training, might be able to return to the lineup before the end of the season.
Asked about that before the series finale against the Orioles, he clarified slightly.
“I just think he’s doing really well,” the manager said. “Now, as I said on the radio, I’m not a doctor. In my mind, he’s ahead of where I thought he’d be at this time. He’s doing short sprints and some light running. He’s possibly going to start swinging a bat in the next week or 10 days. He’s doing his throwing program.
“So that’s progress. But don’t get me wrong. There’s still a long way to go.”
One issue is that, once Hoskins is cleared to resume all baseball activities, he’s going to need some sort of rehab to hone his swing after not seeing game-condition pitching since March.
“I’d say if he got two or three weeks of at bats, that would be pretty good.,” Thomson said. “If it comes that, we’ll get him rehab at bats someplace. be ready?) “If he needs rehab at bats, we’ll get him rehab at bats someplace. Whether the Triple-A season is still going or we set something up down in Clearwater. We’ll take care of it.
“We also have this new machine in here that’s a little more lifelike than any other machine I’ve seen. That helps out. It’s not real but it’s as close as you can get.”
Pitching matchups for the weekend series in Pittsburgh:
RHP Zack Wheeler (7-5, 3.88) vs. RHP Mitch Keller (9-6, 4.01) Friday at 7:05.
RHP Aaron Nola (9-6, 4.25) vs. RHP Quinn Preister (1-1, 9.28) Saturday at 7:05.
LHP Cristopher Sanchez (0-3, 2.98) vs. LHP Rich Hill (7-9, 4.84) Sunday at 1:35.