Phillies left-hander Ranger Suarez, who was supposed to pitch for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, returned to Phillies camp with left forearm tightness. Suarez pitched for Venezuela in an exhibition game against the Astros on Wednesday and was pulled from the game in the second inning.
For right now, the Phillies have prescribed a few days of rest and will evaluate Suarez following the time off. Suarez did not undergo an MRI or any other testing.
As for whether Suarez can be ready for the start of the season, he seemed positive. “I think so. At least that’s what I’m hoping for. I know it’s a very long season, so I don’t want to miss much of it,” he told reporters in Clearwater.
The Phillies came into camp with some depth in pitching, but with top prospect Andrew Painter being shutdown because of a tender elbow, and now Suarez also being shutdown, the depth is quickly disappearing. Even though there was some depth, many of the arms are unproven. Bailey Falter appears to be the clear frontrunner now for the fifth spot with the injury to Painter. Falter pitched well for the Phillies late last season in a starting role. After Falter, the Phillies list Griff McGarry, Nick Nelson, Michael Plassmeyer, and Cristopher Sanchez as potential fillers for the rotation. Sanchez has battled some back issues early in camp, limiting his availability.
Manager Rob Thompson told reporters that Plassmeyer, a 26-year-old lefty, may be at the front of that class of pitchers. “Plassmeyer has been throwing the ball very well,” said Thompson. “We’re still building Sanchez and Nick Nelson, but Plassmeyer has been throwing the ball very well.”