The Phillies could be without both Andrew Painter and Ranger Suárez to begin the 2023 season.
With less than three weeks until the 2023 Philadelphia Phillies regular season gets underway, the organization recently shared two troublesome injury updates as it relates to their starting rotation.
Their top prospect, Andrew Painter, had just made his spring debut when the organization announced he was experiencing right elbow tenderness. After more than a week of uncertainty on the 19-year-old's health status — as he sought multiple opinions — the organization revealed Friday that he has been diagnosed with a right proximal ulnar collateral ligament sprain.
The former first-round draft pick's injury is a shame, as he was likely to make the Opening Day roster as a teenager. While it does not appear that Painter currently needs Tommy John surgery, any arm injury is not ideal, especially at this early stage of his professional career.
Painter has been advised to rest for four weeks before beginning a light throwing program. Hopefully, the month of rest will be all he needs to heal and safely return to the mound.
Meanwhile, middle-of-the-rotation starter Ranger Suárez is likewise experiencing injury woes, as he reportedly felt forearm tightness while making a start for Venezuela earlier this week in preparations for the World Baseball Classic.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports that Suárez does not think the injury is serious, nor will it "necessarily jeopardize his chances" to pitch during the first week of the season. Still, hearing this news around the same time as the Painter update surely gives the Phillies a reason for caution.
If Suárez is not ready to go right away, fellow left-hander Cristopher Sánchez could see a start or two in his absence.
The Phillies remained relatively injury-free before the recent Painter and Suárez announcements. Unfortunately, the club has depth in just about every position except starting pitching. Time will tell as to how Dave Dombrowski will handle any rotation vacancies if the need arises.