Concerning spring training injuries testing the Phillies' pitching depth early

Injuries are beginning to pile up for some of the Phillies' pitching depth pieces.
Injuries to pitchers is testing the Philadelphia Phillies' pitching depth in spring training
Injuries to pitchers is testing the Philadelphia Phillies' pitching depth in spring training / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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There is no such thing as too much pitching depth. That's a common saying in baseball. Injuries are inevitable, and no team has any control over when an injury occurs.

The Philadelphia Phillies are no exception. Over the course of the offseason, the club didn't make many big-name additions. They re-signed Aaron Nola and extended Zack Wheeler. Those were the two moves that highlighted the weeks and months leading up to the 2024 season.

Most other moves were peripheral and added depth — primarily to their pitching staff. It is a good thing that they did, as injuries are starting to pile up to the depth options that the club has accumulated.

Taijuan Walker entered spring training with some "normal" knee soreness but has since made his spring debut. Offseason addition Michael Rucker — acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs — has been out since the beginning of the month. Now, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, Dylan Covey will be sidelined with a shoulder injury and start the season on the IL.

Luckily for the Phillies, their top starters, Wheeler, Nola, Ranger Suárez, and Cristopher Sánchez, are all healthy at the moment.

How will these injuries impact the Phillies heading toward Opening Day?

While Walker experienced a drop in velocity in his spring training debut, the fact that he is back on the mound is encouraging for the club. Even if he takes an extra week or two to ramp up, the Phillies have two off days in the first week of the season and could skip his spot in the rotation if need be.

Rucker was likely destined to begin the season in Triple-A anyway since he has one minor league option remaining, as Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia points out. However, having the right-hander build-up strength is important to ensure that he is ready should he need to be called up.

Covey — contrary to popular belief — played an important role in the Phillies' bullpen last summer. He floundered upon his arrival, but posted a 2.25 ERA in July, a 3.38 ERA in August, and an impressive 0.82 ERA in September.

Covey could have had a shot to make the Opening Day roster as a long man out of the bullpen again. His injury will open the door for someone else to take on that role to begin the season.

The Phillies still have some pitching depth options

While injury news is never good, the club still has some starting pitching and relief depth on the 40-man roster.

Newcomers Max Castillo, Kolby Allard, and Spencer Turnbull all have starting experience, but each could be used as long relief out of the bullpen. Castillo and Allard have struggled at times in a small sample size. Turnbull, however, looked good in his first outing, striking out four batters while pitching two scoreless frames.

Other internal options include Nick Nelson and, further down the line, Mick Abel, who was just sent to minor league camp on Wednesday.

Injuries are never welcomed, but the Phillies brass has done a good job stocking the organization with depth. While none of these fringe pieces will be in the Cy Young race, they could be called on to make a spot start or pitch meaningful relief innings at any point during the regular season. It just shows that there is no such thing as an overabundance of pitching in any major league organization.

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