A Phillies Starter Is Already Out for Most of the Season

Right fielder Aaron Altherr's spring training wrist injury is serious. It will be surgically repaired.

Aaron Altherr at Phillies spring training on February 29th.

Aaron Altherr at Phillies spring training on February 29th.

Aaron Altherr wasn’t one of the Phillies highest-rated prospects, but his stint with the Phillies last season was rather successful. He put up solid numbers in 39 games at the end of last season, with 20 extra base hits in his short time with the club. He also hit an amazing inside-the-park grand slam against the Nationals (that, sure, probably should have been scored a single and a three-base error). He was likely to start for the Phillies in right field this season.

Not anymore. The Phillies announced yesterday that Altherr needs surgery on the left wrist he injured in a spring training game last week. He’ll be out 4-to-6 months, though the Phillies hope he’ll be back by the end of the year.

“It’s disappointing, certainly, for a young player who had a lot to prove,” Phillies GM Matt Klentak said. “We were certainly excited to watch him play. But we’re not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. We have a lot of good players in camp that are competing really hard for an opportunity. And now there is an opportunity.”

The Phillies have two outfield positions set with Odubel Herrera and Peter Bourjos. Herrera was a Rule 5 pick last year; the former infielder started 121 games in center last season and hit .297. Bourjos was picked off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals. He had one great season in Anaheim in 2011 as a 24-year-old, but hasn’t repeated his success. Manager Pete Mackanin has said he’s leaning toward starting Herrera in center, but that’s not set in stone. Whoever doesn’t play center will play left.

That leaves right field. Klentak said he’d try to fill the position internally rather that on the free agent market, mentioning Darnell Sweeney (who came over in the Chase Utley trade), Tyler Goeddel (this year’s Rule 5 pick who will almost certainly make the team) and former Phillies third baseman Cody Asche. Non-roster players Cedric Hunter and David Lough are also in the mix.

Wrist specialist Randall Culp will perform the surgery at the Philadelphia Hand Center.

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