By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Staff
The injury bug does not seem to be going away for the Philadelphia Phillies. Relief pitcher Pat Neshek has reportedly suffered a setback in his recovery process.
Originally placed on the disabled list on March 30 with a right shoulder strain, the veteran reportedly suffered a right flexor strain during a bullpen session. As per Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia, he will be shut down for another week before being reevaluated.
After being selected as the Phillies lone All-Star representative last season, Neshek was traded to the Colorado Rockies at the trade deadline. He said soon after the trade that he enjoyed his time in the city and would like to return if he got the chance. This offseason, Neshek put his money where his mouth was and took less money to play with the Phillies. The Phillies signed him to a two-year, $16.2 million contract this offseason.
The bullpen is definitely missing Neshek’s arm. He and Tommy Hunter were brought in to be the veteran arms in the pen, but both went on the disabled list prior to the start of the season. While Hunter was able to return on April 22, it looks like Neshek’s season debut will again be put on hold. Neshek posted a 1.12 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 43 games with the Phillies last season. Even though the Phillies bullpen has been among the best in the majors this season, more performances like that from Neshek would improve the pen even further.
It should be noted, however, that despite Neshek’s injury, he remains a team leader. He is regularly at home games and in contact with the rest of the team. In fact, it was reported that Neshek met with Phillies manager Gabe Kapler after the disastrous opening series in Atlanta. While it is easy to say that the Phillies overpaid Neshek and should not have done so, that statement does not take into account the veteran presence and leadership that he has brought to the team, even while unable to pitch.
The Phillies will hope that Neshek is cleared during his reevaluation next week to continue throwing and that they will get their 2017 All-Star reliever back sooner rather than later.