Abdominal surgery to cost Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins rest of 2021

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Not much has gone right for the Phillies lately. The slumping Phils have lost seven of their last nine to fall five games back of the division-leading Braves in the NL East and now, they’ll have to make up that ground without arguably their best power hitter. Rhys Hoskins announced Thursday he’ll undergo surgery to repair a torn abdomen, costing him the remainder of 2021. The 6’4” slugger leads the team in both home runs (27, with one coming in Wednesday night’s loss to Tampa Bay) and RBI (71).

The injury couldn’t come at a worse time for the reeling Phillies, who need a win Thursday night (they’re hosting the Diamondbacks, who swept them in Arizona last week) just to stay over .500. Hoskins got off to a slow start this year but has been a completely different hitter since the All-Star break, cruising to a .311/.440/.770 batting line with seven homers and 16 RBI in 61 second-half at-bats. Without him, the Phillies will presumably turn to veteran utility man Brad Miller as their everyday first baseman.

Even with a favorable September schedule (of their remaining opponents, only Atlanta and Milwaukee entered the day with winning records), the shorthanded Phils will be hard-pressed to catch the Braves, who have pulled away from the pack by winning nine of their last 11 and 12 of 15. Even with staff ace Zack Wheeler emerging as a Cy Young candidate and Bryce Harper finally living up to his monster contract, the Phillies have spent much of the year hovering around the .500 mark, fighting through injuries, inconsistency and a flawed bullpen that has struggled to protect late-inning leads (MLB-worst 25 blown saves).

The Phillies were hit on multiple fronts Thursday with Zach Eflin, who was slated to return from a month-long absence, joining Hoskins among their walking wounded. Eflin (4-7, 4.17 ERA) was scratched from his scheduled start Thursday night after apparently aggravating a knee injury. Left-handed journeyman Matt Moore will start in his place. Owners of the National League’s longest active playoff drought (2011 was their last appearance), the Phillies can’t be feeling great about their chances heading into the final month of the regular season.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Rich Schultz, Getty Images