PITTSBURGH - Jeremy Hellickson delivered the Phillies' strongest starting pitching performance in a month but even the good news right now comes with a caveat.
Hellickson injured his right side with two outs in the seventh inning, either during his at-bat or while legging out an RBI double, and was removed from Friday's game.
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It was a brutal turn of events as Hellickson was in complete control. He had retired nine Pirates in a row and 16 of 17. He left with the Phils leading 4-2.
The severity of Hellickson's injury is unclear but if it's his oblique, a DL stint is likely. Cole Hamels was ruled out two months when he went on the DL with an oblique strain of his own in early May.
It was Hellickson's second hit this season and both times his offensive contributions have been costly. He was pitching well on opening day but was winded legging out a triple and faced just one batter the next inning before being pulled.
Hellickson's 2017 experiences certainly strengthen the arguments for proponents of the DH in both leagues.
The Phillies, who can't catch a break lately, also lost Daniel Nava Friday to a hamstring injury.