‘Lucky' Rhys Hoskins Held Out of Lineup as Precaution, Should Be Back in Day Or So

LOS ANGELES - No broken teeth. No concussion. No broken jaw. No trip to the disabled list.

"I'm feeling pretty lucky," Rhys Hoskins said Tuesday afternoon.

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Less than 24 hours earlier, Hoskins fouled a 95-mph fastball off his face. The frightening incident happened in the ninth inning of Monday night's 5-4 loss with Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen on the mound.

The ball hit Hoskins on the right side of his jaw, just an inch or so from his mouth. He escaped with just a dime-sized cut on the inside of his lower lip and some significant swelling on the right side of his face.

"Honestly, I thought it was going to be a lot worse," Hoskins said. "But I feel pretty good."

Hoskins was held out of the Phillies' starting lineup for Tuesday night's game - Nick Williams started in left field, Aaron Altherr in right and Odubel Herrera in center - as he waited for a follow-up examination with one of the Dodgers team doctors. He is not expected to miss a whole lot of time and when he returns he will wear a face guard on his helmet, at least temporarily. Williams wears one all the time.

Hoskins did not receive stitches.

"Your mouth tends to heal a lot faster so I guess it's just time and Neosporin," he said.

Hoskins added, "When it rains it pours." That was a reference to the most difficult month of his professional career. After hitting .303 with four homers, 19 RBIs and a .985 OPS in 116 plate appearances in the first month of the season, he has slipped to .151/2/9/.524 in 99 plate appearances in May. That has dropped his season batting average to .229.

"I think I'd be lying if I said it wasn't tough, but it's part of the game," Hoskins said. "I think the biggest thing I'm taking from it is when I do get out of it I know that in the future when it happens again - because it's going to happen again - that I'm going to be able to get out of it. It's just one of those things that you're just going to have to ride out. Unfortunately it's been a lot longer than I would hope for but it's part of the game."

After hitting mostly fourth during the first month of the season, Hoskins has been used predominantly in the No. 2 hole in May. Despite the player's struggles, manager Gabe Kapler has indicated that he wants to keep Hoskins there (see story).

Hoskins said he does not believe his spot in the batting order has affected him.

"I think the only time it matters is the first inning," he said. "I've still come up with guys in scoring position, which is all I can ask for, so it's just a lot of the same."

Maybe a day or two out of the lineup - forced by a freakish foul ball off the face - will allow him to clear his head and get back on track. Time will tell.

"Hopefully it's a blessing in disguise," Hoskins said.

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