Phillies updates on Jose Alvarado's injury, Bryce Harper's timeline at first base
Updates on Jose Alvarado's injury and Bryce Harper's timeline at first base originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Out since May 8 with left elbow inflammation, Phillies reliever Jose Alvarado threw out to 75 feet Friday afternoon and felt good.
The Phillies will keep Alvarado at 75 feet for a couple of days, according to manager Rob Thomson, then will start increasing the intensity and volume of his throwing program.
Alvarado is first eligible to return on May 23 but his stint on the injured list will last longer than that and he will eventually need a rehab assignment.
"I'd feel safer with him going on a rehab assignment because it's going to be a while before he's back," Thomson said.
The Phillies had been using Alvarado in a closer tandem with right-hander Craig Kimbrel, who picked up the first save after Alvarado went on the injured list. Lefty Gregory Soto, who has been pushed into the Alvarado role, closed out the game a day later.
The absence of Alvarado has a ripple effect on the rest of the bullpen because it takes Soto out of play in the sixth or seventh innings. Of Soto's 22 appearances as a Phillie, 14 have come in the seventh inning or earlier. It's less of a problem on nights when lefty Matt Strahm is available, but the Phillies are being careful with Strahm after using him as a starter six times to begin the season. Strahm is already about 75 percent of the way toward his innings total from 2022 and will be used two or three times per week maximum right now, not yet appearing in back-to-back games.
Alvarado was enjoying the best first half of his career and surging toward his first All-Star nod when he went down with elbow inflammation two weeks ago. He has a 0.63 ERA in 14 appearances and has struck out 24 without a walk. He's faced 71 consecutive hitters since issuing his last regular-season walk, an astonishing number for a pitcher who walked 118 in 188 innings his first five seasons.
Bryce Harper also threw out to 75 feet Friday and will soon be extended to 90 feet.
Thomson said it will still be at least another month until he is able to play first base.