The Phillies shut starter Aaron Nola down for the season, moving him to the 60-day disabled list after he was diagnosed with a low-grade sprain of his UCL and a low-grade strain of the flexor tendon in his right elbow, Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal reports.
Nola saw Dr. James Andrews on Monday and received a platelet-rich plasma injection. He’ll be shut down from baseball activities for the next four weeks, and then the Phillies will ramp up his workload, Montemurro adds. The Phillies expect Nola to be ready for spring training next year, as does Nola.
Nola, 23, struggled for much of the season, putting up a 4.78 ERA with a 121/29 K/BB ratio in 111 innings. The Phillies selected him in the first round — seventh overall — in the 2014 draft. He impressed in 13 major league starts last season, his first season in the big leagues.
Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart said the organization has had internal discussions about offering a contract extension to catcher Welington Castillo, Jack Magruder of Today’s Knuckleball reports.
Castillo, 29, will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility going into the 2017 season after earning $3.7 million for the 2016 campaign. He’s performed well in one and a half years as a Diamondback, batting .260/.316/.468 with 29 home runs and 92 RBI in 629 plate appearances. Castillo has also been solid defensively, throwing out 34 percent of would-be base stealers this season, a rate that is six percent higher than the league average.
The Diamondbacks were Castillo’s third team last season. He started with the Cubs but was traded to the Mariners in May for Yoervis Medina. The Mariners sent him to the Diamondbacks the following month in the Mark Trumbo trade.
Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley got a hero’s welcome at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night, his first game back in Philadelphia since the Phillies traded him to L.A. in August last year. Utley received a standing ovation lasting nearly a minute and a half prior to his first at-bat to lead off the game. He hit a solo home run in the fifth inning and received a standing ovation and the crowd requested a curtain call.
In the seventh inning, with the Dodgers leading by a healthy 9-2 margin, Utley smacked a grand slam to right field. The Philadelphia crowd erupted once again, giving Utley a standing ovation and beckoning for a second curtain call. Once again, they were not disappointed.
All of that left Phillies manager Pete Mackanin a little salty. Per Jen Daniels of CSN Philly, Mackanin said he could have done without the standing ovation after the grand slam. He also said he “gets it,” meaning why the crowd wanted to lavish Utley with adulation.
Utley was a big reason why the Phillies repeated as NL East champions five years in a row from 2007 to ’11, won the World Series in ’08 and returned to the World Series in ’09. It was arguably the greatest period of Phillies baseball in the organization’s 133-year history. Utley was the best second baseman in baseball during his prime as well, and will go down as the second-greatest position player in Phillies history next to Mike Schmidt.
Tuesday night’s game was lost before Utley put the game out of reach with his grand slam. It wasn’t as if Phillies fans cheered a go-ahead home run in the middle of a pennant race. The Phillies are in fourth place at 56-64 in the NL East. All things considered, Tuesday’s game meant nothing to the rebuilding Phillies. And it was the city’s first time seeing an iconic player since he left? Go crazy, folks.
Ultimately, this boils down to policing fandom. And, really, one shouldn’t tell another how to be a fan. If that involves being a fairweather fan, or a bandwagon fan, or cheering for players on opposing teams one happens to like, those are all valid ways of enjoying the sport and the players who perform. At the end of the day, we are watching grown men wearing pajamas chasing a white sphere around a field of grass and dirt. It’s meant to be fun. Kudos to Phillies fans for remembering that.