It’s only been about 10 days since the full roster came together in Clearwater, but already, injuries are starting to have an impact. On Tuesday, the Phillies announced that reliever Tommy Hunter would be shut down for two weeks, at least, with a strained flexor muscle in his pitching arm. With the timetable, Hunter could now open the season on the disabled list for the second straight season. A year ago, it was a hamstring strain that sidelined Hunter.
The 32-year old Hunter is in the final year of a two-year, $18-million deal that he signed prior to last season.
Prior to the injury, it wasn’t clear exactly where Hunter would fit in the Phillies bullpen. With last season’s emergence of Seranthony Dominguez and Hector Neris getting straightened out after a mid-season slump and the presence of Pat Neshek, the back end of the Phillies bullpen already had a number of right-handers. The Phillies signed David Robertson during the offseason, which added to the logjam, as did the arrival of Juan Nicasio in the Juan Segura deal with Seattle. There are also left-handers Adam Morgan, James Pazos, Austin Davis and Jose Alvarez. Also hanging around are Victor Arano, Yacksel Rios and Edubray Ramos.
Hunter was the 54th overall selection in the 2007 Draft and made his major league debut on August 1, 2008 at the age of 22 when he threw five innings against Toronto, giving up six earned runs on eight hits and two walks. Hunter pitched for Texas, Baltimore, the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, Baltimore and Tampa Bay prior to joining the Phillies. In his career, he’s pitched in 443 games, 75 of which were as a starter. He’s 56-44 in the majors with a 4.10 ERA.