Zack Wheeler seems completely unworried about the flareup of forearm tendinitis that landed him on the 15-day injured list Thursday.
"I was ready to pitch today, but they wanted me to back it up, so do what they want," Wheeler said of the team's brass and medical staff before Friday night's game. "It's just a little fatigue or whatever you want to call it. I'd rather be strong for the remainder of the season than try to gut it out right now and maybe not have my best stuff, so I think it's a smart thing to do right now."
Wheeler said he's dealt with the issue a number of times throughout his career.
"I've dealt with it earlier this season multiple times," he said. "And last season and before that, too.
"It's just a little more than before and I think like Dave (Dombrowski) said, it's that time when you could use a little bit of rest so play it safe and be strong for the long road."
Manager Rob Thomson said Wheeler felt some soreness after his last start against the Mets. Wheeler did his regular between-starts work before the decision was made to place him on the injured list Thursday.
Wheeler and the Phillies are so convinced that the issue is not serious that no MRI is planned. Wheeler will take a few days off from throwing, receive treatment and throw a couple of bullpens before, if all goes well, rejoining the rotation on September 6.
Getting a healthy Wheeler back is crucial not only to the Phillies solidifying a playoff berth for the first time since 2011 but also to the team's chances of advancing in the postseason should it get there.
Wheeler, 32, had Tommy John in 2015. He signed with the Phillies before the 2020 season and has been a high-level performer and workhorse. He has a 2.90 ERA in 66 starts with the Phils and led the majors with 213⅓ innings in 2021 while finishing second in National League Cy Young voting. He has a 3.07 ERA in 23 starts this season.
The Phillies have lost two important pitchers in a week. Seranthony Dominguez went on the injured list Sunday with triceps tendinitis. Like Wheeler, Dominguez' issue is not considered serious. The Phils believe he will benefit from some rest before returning in early September.
"It's a blow," Rhys Hoskins said. "Obviously, those are arms, I don't want to say indispensable, but they're the type of arms you don't find too much across the league.
"We're confident in the depth we have. Like every other thing that's been thrown our way in terms of adversity throughout the year, we'll weather the storm. Guys will step up like they've been asked to in the past and we'll be excited to get those guys back when they're ready."