The man projected to be the Philadelphia Phillies’ most valuable bench bat, Brad Miller, is dealing with an oblique injury that could sideline him for the start of the regular season.
Miller rejoined the Phillies this offseason after he spent 2020 with the Cardinals and exhibits the necessary versatility that should seem him getting at-bats off the bench for both Rhys Hoskins at first base and Andrew McCutchen in left field.
But the 31-year-old, who was batting .294 with a home run and two RBI in spring training, said he has been dealing with discomfort in the area for quite some time.
“I’ve kind of been feeling some stuff throughout spring,” Miller said on Sunday. “Just normal, getting back into action. [Saturday], it felt like it picked up a little bit. It wasn’t going away. I went out to run, I was out on the field, I was excited to play, talking to Rhys [Hoskins] and I’m just like, ‘Yeah, I probably shouldn’t.’”
An MRI has not been scheduled as of yet nor has a timetable for a return been established.
“I haven’t had something exactly like this. This is definitely that oblique area that we know needs a lot of attention and something you definitely don’t want lingering. Anytime I’m not playing, I want to be able to go. But I think I was smart yesterday, we did the right thing. I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself.”
The panic button does not have to be pressed yet for the Phillies, but the difficulty surrounding the rehab of oblique injuries makes it vital for both the team and player to err on the side of caution — even if Opening Day is a little over two weeks away.
“Even my last game, it felt best in the game,” Miller said. “I’m out there running around not thinking about it. That’s why we didn’t have any concern. Then once I was doing my normal stuff and warming up, it started when I was moving around. It’s nothing crazy. I was like, OK, that’s a little different now than before. So let’s pump the brakes a little bit.
The next few days of rest are all the more important considering just how valuable he is projected to be this season. There will be extra importance placed on depth as organizations and players readjust into playing a full 162-game season after playing just 60 in 2020.
Now, Miller and the Phillies must be sure to not let their emotions get the best of them.
“Just got a little tweak in there,” Miller said. “I’m so emotional, I’m up and I’m down, so I think giving it a couple days where I don’t get ahead of myself. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious. It pulls at every fiber of me wanting to play.”