The Phillies announced late Sunday that outfielder Aaron Altherr and pitcher Mark Leiter, Jr. had been optioned to Triple-A following the doubleheader against the Padres. The move is a bit of deja vu for Leiter, who’s already been racking up some frequent flier miles this season, but is a sad culmination of events for Altherr, who is less than a year removed from posting 19 HR and an .856 OPS in 2017.
#Phillies have optioned OF Aaron Altherr and RHP Mark Leiter Jr. to Lehigh Valley (AAA).— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 23, 2018
Corresponding roster moves will be made tomorrow.
Altherr, 27, is mired in the worst of funks in 2018. His strikeouts have ballooned, his hard contact has driven off a cliff, and his line sits at a rather miserable .171/.290/.305 following a pinch-hit strikeout in Game 1 of Sunday’s twin bill. Altherr did not play in the nightcap.
Altherr is in his final option year, meaning that if this minor league stint lasts 20 or more days, he will be out of options for 2019. That would severely limit his flexibility on the roster, and would require him to pass through waivers to be optioned to the minors next season. For now, the hope is that he can take some time to clear his head and get back to squaring balls up.
Zach Eflin figures to be activated from the DL to take one of these two spots. The second candidate seems likely to be either Dylan Cozens or Luis Garcia, though the recently activated and rehabbing Roman Quinn could be a dark horse.
The Phillies kick off a series with Chase Utley and the Dodgers tomorrow at 7:05.