Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos is planning to return to the lineup on Tuesday, when the Phils begin a three-game series with the Cubs. Castellanos hasn’t played since September 2 due to an oblique strain, but after taking part in baseball activities today, he believes he is ready to get back onto the field without the benefit of a minor league rehab assignment.
“[The team] asked if I think I need one and I said no,” Castellanos told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury and other reporters. “I just feel like the sooner I can get back and play and lose myself in a baseball game, the better….I’ve known so many people that have gone down and done fantastic in their rehab assignments and then have come up and it’s a new game. My philosophy is the sooner I can get back into a game that’s important, the better.”
Another set of on-field activities are slated for tomorrow, and if Castellanos comes out of those workouts feeling good, it would seem as if he’ll be activated from the 10-day injured list in time for Tuesday’s game. (The Phillies don’t play on Monday.) Castellanos said that swinging a bat was the last step in his rehab, as he hadn’t had any issues running or throwing for several days. In general, Castellanos said that “I wouldn’t say [I feel] 100 percent, but I don’t feel like I need to be 100 percent. I just don’t want to feel restricted or like I could injure myself again.”
As the Phillies continue to battle for an NL wild card slot, Castellanos is certainly eager to return to the playoff race after missing much of September. Adding to his frustration, Castellanos was seemingly breaking out of his season-long slump at the time of his injury. Castellanos hit .318/.348/.505 over his last 112 plate appearances prior to his IL stint, after delivering a disappointing .250/.294/.367 slash line in his first 419 PA of the season. Matt Vierling, Phil Maton, and Dalton Guthrie have seen the bulk of work in right field in Castellanos’ absence.
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