ST. LOUIS -- Two hours before game time Sunday, Larry Bowa grabbed his fungo bat and headed out to the field at Busch Stadium.
Howie Kendrick grabbed his infielder's glove and followed.
For the next 20 minutes, Kendrick fielded ground balls from Bowa's bat.
He did so at the second base position.
As expected, the Phillies placed Cesar Hernandez on the disabled list Sunday morning with a strained left side oblique muscle. Hernandez is headed back to Philadelphia for an MRI exam that will determine the severity of the injury. Oblique/abdominal injuries generally take at least three weeks -- and often more -- to heal. Kendrick missed six weeks earlier this season with an abdominal strain.
It would not be surprising if Hernandez is sidelined until the All-Star break, which is just a month away.
Kendrick will be the first called upon to fill Hernandez's position.
"He's in there today," manager Pete Mackanin said Sunday. "We'll see how he looks."
Kendrick played mostly second base early in his career with the Los Angeles Angels. Entering Sunday, he'd played second base in 1,112 of his 1,360 career games, so the position is nothing new to him.
Until Sunday, and with the exception of his six weeks on the DL, Kendrick had been the Phillies' primary left fielder. With Kendrick moving to the infield for the time being, Daniel Nava will move into the regular outfield rotation.
There no doubt will be an outcry for the Phillies to promote hard-hitting second baseman Scott Kingery from Double A. That moves does not appear to be in the cards at the moment. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak is on record as saying he will not sacrifice a player's development time to rush him to the majors.
Manager Pete Mackanin was asked about the possibility of bringing up Kingery.
"I don't know," he said. "I haven't spoken to Matt."
Kingery, 23, is lighting up the Eastern League with a .300 batting average, 17 homers, 33 RBIs and a .990 OPS. He was a standout in spring training, leading Mackanin at the time to say, "It looks like he's on a fast track to the big leagues."
Kingery is not on the 40-man roster and does not have to be protected until after the 2018 season. It's difficult to envision this front office putting him on the 40-man roster until it is convinced he can come to the majors and stay.
Hernandez hurt himself making an off-balance throw in Friday night's game.
The Phillies filled Hernandez' roster spot by activating reliever Joaquin Benoit from the disabled list. The Phils are likely to stick with an eight-man bullpen at least through Tuesday when they conclude a two-game interleague set against the Red Sox in Boston.