October 3, 2022
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Zack Wheeler to start Wednesday; rotation change to follow?

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ATLANTA – It’s official. Zack Wheeler is a go.

The right-hander, who missed five starts while tending to inflammation in his right elbow/forearm, will return to the Phillies rotation Wednesday night against Toronto at Citizens Bank Park.

Wheeler had been penciled in for the start after throwing to hitters Friday. Manager Rob Thomson put it down in ink after Wheeler reported no problems when he reported to the ballpark Saturday.

Wheeler will take the mound Wednesday one month and a day after his last start, a loss against the New York Mets in which he allowed five hits, four walks and four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Phils will watch Wheeler’s workload the first couple of starts back. Including warmups, he threw 55 pitches Friday, so something in that neighborhood might make sense Wednesday night. It’s possible that Noah Syndergaard, who has allowed 30 hits and 15 earned runs in 22 innings over his last four starts, could be used in relief of Wheeler in Wednesday night’s game. Bailey Falter, who will start Sunday in Atlanta, has been very effective filling in for Wheeler and there are signs that the team will stick with him over Syndergaard in the rotation.

Kyle Gibson will start Tuesday night’s series opener against Toronto. Manager Rob Thomson was not ready to announce his pitching plans for the series against Atlanta, which begins Thursday night.

Wheeler will have three starts before the end of the regular season. He will be able to start the first game of the postseason on regular rest should the Phils choose to go that way.

 

HOSKINS SUNDAY?

Rhys Hoskins did not start for the third straight game Saturday night. He was hit by a pitch on the right hand Wednesday night in Miami. Hoskins said he felt better Saturday and was due to hit in an indoor batting cage. Pinch-hitting in Saturday night’s game was not out of the question, and neither was a return to the starting lineup Sunday afternoon.

BIG LOSS

Thomson said Edmundo Sosa’s hamstring strain was classified as a Grade 2 injury. That will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the regular season. The Phils hope to get him back for the postseason, but nothing is certain. Sosa has given the team a lift offensively and with his infield defense since being acquired from St. Louis in July.

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