The Philadelphia Phillies have endured quite a few injuries so far this season, but this one may be the toughest to overcome yet.
Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen has torn his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season.
The injury took place June 3 against the San Diego Padres in the first inning. McCutchen led the game off with a walk then Phillies’ shortstop Jean Segura hit a weak infield pop up.
Padres’ second baseman Ian Kinsler let the ball drop to try and get a double play. Kinsler threw to first to get Segura then McCutchen was caught in a rundown. As McCutchen tried to evade a tag, he grabbed his left knee and fell to the ground. The 32-year-old was helped off the field, and underwent testing, hoping it wasn’t serious.
McCutchen tweeted out that night, “Pray for me.” The next morning it was confirmed.
“It’s my ACL, it’s torn. So, I’m out for the rest of the season,” McCutchen said.
“Really disappointing,” Phillies’ skipper Gabe Kapler said. “Andrew has not just been a catalyst at the top of our lineup, but a catalyst in our clubhouse.”
Freaky injuries like this are always hard to process, but even more so with a player who has showcased excellent durability as McCutchen has. In his last nine seasons, he has played at least 140 games. Before this, he had only been on the injured list once in his career, with the Pirates in 2014.
The former NL MVP had been one of the Phillies’ best players this season. He had been incredibly effective from the leadoff spot, mostly due to his elite plate discipline. At the time of his injury, he led the National League in walks with 43, while slashing .256/.378/.457 on the year. All that while driving in 29 runs and hitting 10 home runs.
The Phillies signed McCutchen to three year, $50 million contract last offseason. The contract also includes team options for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
This injury, combined with Odubel Herrera’s absence due to his domestic violence case, has the Phillies’ outfield looking quite thin. The Phillies have called up former first-round pick Adam Haseley to take McCutchen’s roster spot. The rookie made his major league debut June 4 and will see regular playing time in center field.
“It’s an opportunity for Adam Haseley to show us how ready he is to help us,” Kapler said.
Haseley’s first major league hit was a big one against the Friars. The Phillies found themselves down 5-2 aganist the Padres, but rallied to tie the game in the seventh inning thanks to three straight two-out hits from Cesar Hernandez, Bryce Harper and Segura.
In the following inning, Haseley came up with two outs and Scott Kingery at first. Haseley fell behind 0-2, but was able to poke a ball down the left field line. The ball awkwardly bounced off the third base wall, allowing the speedy Kingery to score from first and break the tie. Haseley’s clutch first hit drove in the winning run in a 7-5 Phillies’ victory and gave the Fightins’ a series win.
Another key contributor in the outfield moving forward will be Phillies’ newest acquisition — Jay Bruce. The team acquired Bruce from the Seattle Mariners June 2 in exchange for prospect Jake Scheiner. As part of the deal, the Mariners will also be paying the Phillies $18,567,204 of the $21,317,204 still owed to Bruce over the next two seasons.
The slugger has made a strong impression early, giving the offense an immediate boost. In his first start June 4, Bruce had a double, a two-run home run and a grand slam for a total of six runs driven in on the day. He followed that up the next day, hitting another double and solo home run. The Phillies’ left fielder now has 17 total home runs on the year, the highest mark on the team.
The Phillies will have to make this new look outfield work to stay atop of the National League East. The team is still in the lead of the division, but the Atlanta Braves are not far behind.
After a rough road trip, that included a devastating injury and sweep by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Phillies will return home to take on the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks. Both of these teams are under .500 thus far on the season. The Phillies should be looking to take advantage of some weak competition and get back on track after the McCutchen injury.