Can we credit the Phillies' recent troubles on a few of their missing pieces?
Recovering from: Right labrum double-tears
When he was signed, it was hoped that Mike Adams could be a stabilizing late-inning, right-handed force in the bullpen. He did not do this, throwing several bad appearances, before leaving with an injury. Now, the Phillies are in need of a stabilizing, late-inning, right-handed force in the bullpen. 35-year-old Mike Adams is available. Soon.
First, he will make an appearance in Lehigh Valley that could set him up to be sitting in grim silence with the rest of the Phillies bullpen as early as Monday. This is after he threw in two consecutive games in Clearwater, where Phillies go to be reanimated, allowing two hits and a run. As with most returning relievers in their mid-thirties who just had surgery, optimism is through the roof for Adams. As Ryan Lawrence puts it,
"Adams... would be a welcome addition to the back end of the ‘pen.
Since Adams is coming off shoulder surgery, however, it's uncertain just how much he'll be able to provide."
Recovering from: How oblique is life, man? But seriously Darin Ruf has a rib injury.
Ruf was supposed to miss 4-6 weeks with his oblique injury, but here we are, a mere three weeks later, so his absence is right on schedule. Is Darin Ruf the offensive piece missing from a Phillies lineup that seemingly spent their season's budget of runs on the first day? No!
But, in some good news for Tony Gwynn, Jr., Ruf's also not very close to coming back, being cleared to begin baseball activities not quite yet. "Baseball activities" in Phillies terms means Ruf will be rehabbing by misplaying grounders, giving up leads, and losing to the Brewers.
Bigger questions exist, however, such as, with all this time on his hands, Ruf still hasn't pulled the trigger.
Recovering from: MRSA, remember? One of the Phillies contracted MRSA
Chances are, you watched Jonathan Papelbon give up a walk-off hit, or Ryan Howard misplay a ground ball, or Ben Revere dive and miss a pop-up, and thought, "What the Phillies could really use is a stronger bench." Well, good news for you then, because triple-infield threat Freddy Galvis is on his way, having spent most of the Spring battling a staph infection that when unchecked can cost victims a limb. Freddy is 2-for-12 in a three game rehab stint with the Clearwater Threshers, who have lost five in a row to be tied for worst place in the Florida State League. Both of Freddy's hits were triples, though, so that should silence the young defensive specialist's tripling critics.
Recovering from: Shoulder soreness that refuses to go away
Ruben Amaro lavished Pettibone with praise recently, openly referring to the 23-year-old as "fairly effective." In his first test of the Major League season, he will go up against the Marlins a night after Jose Fernandez will have feasted on the Phillies' bones. Pettibone will have a difficult time following suit as he makes his 2014 debut due to questions about his shoulder and the fact that fish don't have bones. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Fish do have bones. Many bones, actually. Humans don't eat bones, though.]
Pettibone will give the Phillies a fifth starter for the first time in 2014, as the long, long wait for Cole Hamels to come back and save the season goes on.