Rhys Hoskins hopeful for potential October return for Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- — Rhys Hoskins leaned on his left crutch as he helped injured teammate Bryce Harper raise the Phillies’ 2022 National League championship banner. He got a standing ovation as he hobbled to the field two days later to accept his championship ring.

Hoskins’ participation in Philadelphia’s opening weekend festivities was about all he could muster as the slugging first baseman recovers from a torn ACL in his left knee.

But should the Phillies make another run in October, Hoskins is ready to spike the seven- to nine-month rehab expectation and play in the postseason.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to give myself an opportunity that if and when we are playing in late October, I have a chance to contribute to that,” Hoskins said Monday.

The 30-year-old Hoskins — playing on a $12 million, one-year contract — spoke to reporters for the first time since he “felt a pop” and was injured in late March while fielding a grounder in a spring training game. Hoskins hit 30 homers with 79 RBI last season for the reigning NL champions.

He hit six homers in Philadelphia’s playoff run last season. The Phillies lost to the Houston Astros in the World Series.

The second-longest tenured Phillies player behind Aaron Nola, Hoskins had a moment forever etched in Philly sports lore when he hit a three-run homer and slammed his bat in celebration in a Game 3 win against Atlanta in the NL Division Series. The moment is captured on a mural on a corridor inside Citizens Bank Park that leads from the clubhouse to the dugout.

Hoskins was in full uniform for the banner-raising and for his hug with owner John Middleton when he got his ring. But he wore a Phillies sweatshirt and his bulky leg brace was on display as he lumbered to the middle of the clubhouse Monday to talk about his injury and his comeback. While his playing future is uncertain, the championship weekend was one for him to remember.

“Just being able to be here but be part of it was something that I'll cherish for the rest of my life,” he said. “Those pennants stay up there forever.”

Hoskins had surgery nearly two weeks ago in Texas on the same day the Phillies opened the season against the Rangers.

The Phillies' contingency plans suffered a setback when replacement Darick Hall suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb. He will have surgery on Wednesday. The Phillies started Kody Clemens at first base Monday night against the Marlins. Alec Bohm started at third base and will continue to get spot starts at first against tough left-handers.

Hoskins said he needs about six weeks on crutches and then rehab to build strength in the leg before he hopefully can start to jog and eventually run at the three-month mark.

“I often find myself asking why, right? Trying to figure out the answer,” he said. “Sometimes there isn’t and that’s just kind of how it goes. I think being here with the guys, trying to be as engaged as I can about what’s going on in the field is best. Sure, hard, of course. I want to do everything that I can to be out there. We have big expectations for the talent that we have in the clubhouse.”

Hoskins has tried not to think about the fact that his last moment as a player in a Phillies uniform could be the one of him taken off the field on a cart.

“So much has to happen before I think of anything that has to do with my future or what a professional contract may or may not look like,” he said. “Of course I thought about it. Of course I'm disappointed. But right now, it's about the small wins I have to focus on throughout this rehab.”

Hoskins said he found some encouragement that he can make a same-season comeback from teammate Kyle Schwarber.

Schwarber tore two ligaments in his left knee after a frightening collision with a Cubs teammate in 2016 while chasing down a flyball. It was only the third game of the season and Schwarber figured his year was over.

But 201 days later, and following months of relentless rehab, Schwarber returned to help the Cubs win the World Series. He batted .412 with seven hits, one double and two RBI in five World Series games.

Hoskins stopped himself when talking about his recovery timeline and noted: “I'm going to lean on those people who have the experience with the next seven to nine months — well, six months — what I should expect.”

Hoskins said he planned to stick around the team as much as possible while he rehabs.

“I’ll pour myself into this team just like I always have and try to find a way to make a positive impact,” he said.


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