Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber have Phillies rookie Mickey Moniak’s back as he recovers from injury
Mickey Moniak is on the Injured List, but he’s not going anywhere.
Unless, of course, the Phillies are on the road, in which case, so is he.
Because even though the former first-overall pick is on the Injured List, Nick Castellanos encouraged him to stay with the club and travel with them, soak in the energy of the newly-upgraded lineup, and prepare to re-join them soon.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Castellanos also made Moniak a promise:
"“We need you to stay with the team.We’ve got your back. We’ll go to bat for you.”"
Kyle Schwarber said the same, reminding Moniak that he’d earned a roster spot.
It’s hard to remember a Phillies rookie in a similar position in recent history. In a matter of weeks, Moniak – with the help of hitting coach Kevin Long – transformed himself from an afterthought draft bust into an underdog every Phillies fan was rooting for. On Twitter, they begged the Phillies account to announce that he’d made the Opening Day roster, and rejoiced when they found out he had. They mourned his fractured wrist and wished him well when his IL stint made headlines.
Clearly, his teammates feel the same way. It’s huge for two established veterans – especially ones new to the organization – to publicly back a rookie with only 29 career big-league games. It speaks to a shift in clubhouse culture in Philadelphia, and a positive sign of team unity.
Still technically a rookie, this would have been his first time on the Opening Day roster. Instead, he’s on the bench, waiting in the wings as his hand heals. But Moniak says he’s using the time productively:
"“From the dugout, I’ve been tracking the pitchers as well. Just because I’m bored and want to be out there hitting. I’ll treat as if I’m on deck — basically doing everything I would do on deck, but from the dugout. Just trying to stay locked in.I look for things in the game, too. I’m trying to pay attention to those little things so that when I do come back, it’s something I can add to my game. Like watching sequencing with pitchers, for example. Maybe this guy’s doing this. The biggest thing is staying locked in, to continue learning, so that when you do come back, you don’t miss a beat.”"
Having covered him in Triple-A last year, I didn’t expect much from Moniak coming into 2022. But that’s what makes his story so great, and him so fun to root for. He’s unexpected, inspiring, hardworking, and deserving of the support Castellanos and Schwarber are giving him.