Phillies in Tough Spot With Franco, Knapp Injuries
During last night's tough 8-6 loss to the Washington Nationals, the Phillies had some other problems besides an unreliable bullpen. The club lost not one, but two players to injury. First it was catcher Andrew Knapp. Then, it was third baseman Maikel Franco who went down. Both injuries leave the Phillies in a tough spot.
Knapp suffered what the Phillies are calling a right knee contusion. Knapp took a ball to the knee and was replaced by Jorge Alfaro after the sixth inning. By definition, a contusion is a deep bruise, so there are no broken bones or sprains. But it might be enough to make Knapp unavailable for Monday night's game against the Yankees at home.
Franco slipped on first base running in the eighth inning. Franco had to be replaced by Mitch Walding. I say "had to" because backup infielder Jesmuel Valentin was placed on the paternity list and outfielder Dylan Cozens was the only able body on the 40-man roster to replace him, leaving Walding as the lone backup infielder.
The Phillies said last night that Franco had "lower back tightness". However, reporter Junior Matrille, who has covered Franco throughout his career in the Dominican Republic, reported that Franco was bothered with discomfort in his right knee. While Franco had hoped to play Monday, the knee issue could require some more tests.
Valentin may miss up to three games with the paternity leave, so it would last no longer than Tuesday. But without a backup catcher and backup infielder, the Phillies could be forced to make a roster move. With a full 40-man roster, a player would have to be designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for an infielder or catcher.
Pat Neshek is eligible for the 60-day disabled list, but he is currently on a rehab assignment and that would only temporarily delay a cut if all goes well. But as we saw with Jerad Eickhoff, setbacks happen even during a rehab assignment.
If no move is made, Carlos Santana might have to be the emergency solution at both positions. Santana spent much of his early career as a catcher and could move behind the dish if absolutely necessary. The same could be said for Santana playing some third base, as he played 26 games there in 2014.