The Phillies placed second baseman Cesar Hernandez on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left oblique, the team announced Sunday. The move is retroactive to June 10. Hernandez sustained the injury during Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, when he reportedly felt discomfort in his side while making a throw. He was omitted from Saturday’s starting lineup, but appears to need more than a day off to recover and will likely not rejoin the team until late June.
Hernandez, 27, is in his fifth season with the Phillies. Through Friday, he slashed .277/.336/.399 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 58 games. This will be his first significant stint on the disabled list since 2015, when he underwent season-ending surgery for a torn UCL tendon in his thumb.
Without Hernandez, the Phillies will turn to Howie Kendrick to cover at second base. Kendrick also missed significant time with an oblique injury earlier this season after making a diving catch against the Nationals back in April. Since his return last month, he’s batting .333/.385/.556 with two home runs and a .940 OPS in 39 PA.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.