ATLANTA - Slugging minor leaguer Rhys Hoskins could be in the Phillies' lineup very soon.
Hoskins, a first baseman by trade, is making starts in the outfield in anticipation of joining the Phillies, maybe as early as the next homestand.
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Before Tuesday's game against the Braves, manager Pete Mackanin said no definite plans have been made about Hoskins' promotion, but said, "We just want to see his bat up here."
Hoskins, the team's fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft, entered Tuesday batting .281 with 27 homers and 85 RBIs for Triple A Lehigh Valley. He has walked 64 times and struck out 75 times in 113 games, with a .385 on-base percentage and .568 slugging percentage.
Hoskins broke through a year ago at Double A Reading when he hit .281 with 38 homers and 116 RBIs.
The holdup has been the performance of Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph, who has pieced together a solid sophomore season. Joseph is batting .249 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs, and the team is reluctant to put him on the bench.
"Tommy Joseph has done well enough and there are enough games left to show even more improvement," Mackanin said. "It's hard to put Tommy Joseph on the bench."
So Hoskins has been taking fly balls and made his second straight start in left field Tuesday after debuting there Monday.
"He got four or five chances and did OK," Mackanin said of Hoskins' first look at the new position. "It's not as easy as you think to play the outfield if you haven't done it."
The decision to move Hoskins to the fast-track may have been spurred by the injury to Aaron Altherr, who went on the disabled list for the second time with a right hamstring strain. Altherr can come off the DL on Aug. 21, although Mackannin said the club won't rush him back into action.
Knapp's hand broken
Catcher Andrew Knapp was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right-hand contusion retroactive to Aug. 4, but he will be out longer.
"They found a fracture and it's going to be a couple of weeks," Mackanin said.
Knapp was injured when he took a foul tip to the hand off the bat of Albert Pujols in a game against the Angels last week.
Jorge Alfaro was recalled on Aug. 4 and will be the backup catcher to Cameron Rupp. Alfaro, part of the 2015 trade that sent Cole Hamels to Texas, was 2 for 4 in his first game of the season.
"I'm going to play him," Mackanin said. "I'll pick my spots. He'll get a little bit of playing time. He got two hits the other day. We'll see."
Right-hander Zach Eflin was called up from Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and started the opening game of the two-game series against the Braves. This is Eflin's second stint with the Phillies. He made eight starts, going 0-3 with a 6.13 ERA before being optioned to Triple A.