Mickey Moniak reportedly sustained a wrist fracture and will miss Phillies Opening Day and several weeks of playing time
The 2022 Philadelphia Phillies season doesn’t begin until Friday, but already, a dark cloud is looming in the form of a tragic injury.
According to several reports from reputable sources including The Athletic‘s Matt Gelb and NBC Sports Philadelphia‘s Jim Salisbury, Mickey Moniak has a hairline fracture in his wrist after getting hit by a pitch in Wednesday’s spring training finale against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Moniak was the first-overall pick back in 2016 but struggled in the minor leagues and since his 2020 debut. He has 29 career games in the majors under his belt over the last two seasons, but this would have been his first year on the Opening Day roster.
But after just a few weeks of working with the Phillies’ new hitting coach, Kevin Long, Moniak looked like a new man. He hit four doubles and five home runs in spring training and went from the guy Joe Girardi said was unlikely to see time in centerfield, to making the Opening Day roster. Throughout the spring, his transformation endeared him to Phillies fans, who began passionately rooting for him and begging the Phillies’ Twitter account to put him on the roster.
Worse yet, Gelb’s tweets clued fans into the fact that Moniak was going to be the Opening Day starting centerfielder ahead of Matt Vierling. It’s an honor that shows just how impressive Moniak was in spring training, and makes his injury even more heartbreaking.
Who will play centerfield for the Phillies while Mickey Moniak is injured?
In Moniak’s absence, Vierling will be the starting centerfielder, and Simon Muzzioti will join the club for Opening Day. While the former has big-league experience – he debuted in 2021 – any playing time Muzzioti gets will be his big-league debut. He’s been in the minors with the Red Sox and Phillies since 2016 and was set to begin the season in Double-A.
Moniak’s initial timeline for recovery is 4-6 weeks. Meanwhile, Odúbel Herrera is working his way back from an oblique injury, and could face pitchers in live batting practice as soon as this weekend. Originally, the Phillies re-signed Herrera to platoon with Vierling in center, but that was before Moniak’s explosive spring. He shouldn’t have to compete with Herrera, but it could very well happen now.
There were many players on the Phillies roster who stepped back into their roles without competition, but Moniak wasn’t one of them. He put himself on the map with hard work and an astounding turnaround, which this injury all the more crushing.
Hopefully, Moniak is able to come back as soon as possible and claim the spot he rightfully earned.