Phillies bench player proves he is the perfect backup for Trea Turner

Edmundo Sosa has proven to be a trustworthy and viable option as Trea Turner's backup, performing well in the starting shortstop's absence.
Philadelphia Phillies backup infielder Edmundo Sosa
Philadelphia Phillies backup infielder Edmundo Sosa / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 Philadelphia Phillies have a very complete, well-rounded roster with strengths in every facet of the team. One surprising part of this team that has been unexpectedly shining bright this season is the bench players. For the most part, the backups coming off the bench this year have outperformed expectations, taking advantage of every opportunity they've been given.

Backup infielder Edmundo Sosa had a big opportunity presented when starting shortstop Trea Turner suffered a hamstring injury in early May. Pegged as one of the Phillies who needed to step up in Turner's absence, Sosa stepped in and stepped up for the Phillies with Turner out for at least six weeks.

The 28-year-old seamlessly transitioned into an almost daily starter role and has helped the Phillies not only stay afloat without Turner but win games.

Phillies bench player proves he is the perfect backup for Trea Turner

Sosa is an above-average infielder who has the talent to be an everyday starter in MLB. His numbers this month have been strong and his presence on the field has been felt. Since stepping in for Turner on May 3, Sosa is batting .316 with a .988 OPS, 12 hits, five extra-base hits, nine RBI and two stolen bases in 14 games.

He put an exclamation on his May performance to date on Wednesday, smashing a three-run home run in the Phillies' 11-4 win over the Texas Rangers.

It was important to replace Turner with another speedster, as that is one of Turner's most vital qualities. Sosa is aggressive, quick and a real threat on the basepaths, which makes him a perfect backup for Turner.

Edmundo Sosa has watched Trea Turner for years

Another reason Sosa is the perfect backup is that he has studied Turner's game for years. According to Alex Coffey at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sosa has always looked up to Turner (subscription required), going back to Sosa's days with the St. Louis Cardinals.

"He's a superstar," Sosa said, per Coffey. "I remember thinking, 'Wow, one day I want to play like him.' So I was really sad to hear about his injury."

Baseball is romantic, isn't it?

Sosa ended up being teammates with one of his idols and now has been given the opportunity to back him up when he goes down. However, as much as Sosa is ready for the opportunity, he knows how important Turner is to the Phillies and how his injury negatively affects the team, according to Coffey.

Sosa's production ensures Turner can take his time to get back

Sosa's effectiveness as a starter is important for many reasons, one being that Turner can take his time to heal. With how well Sosa and the Phillies are performing in his absence, Turner can rest easy knowing that he doesn't need to rush back to save the team.

Hamstring injuries are very fragile and tedious, so Turner must ensure he's completely healed before returning to the field. Sosa has allowed Turner to have that mentality and has made that his goal since stepping in.

"I'm just trying to help the team as much as I can, so he doesn't feel like he needs to rush his rehab. I'm going to do my best," Sosa said, per Coffey. "Trea has given me words of encouragement and told me he's happy for the way I've played. It makes me feel good. It validates all the work I've done. We're both just working to reach our goal, which is to win the World Series."

Trea Turner's timeline is still up in the air. He will travel with the team on their West Coast trip while continuing rehab. According to, manager Rob Thomson hopes Turner will be able to make it abroad when the Phillies play the Mets in London on June 8 and 9.

Thomson says if Turner makes the trip, "that would mean he's back with us." Turner is making good progress, staying loose and fielding grounders as much as he can, aiming to be 100 percent by the time the Phillies head to London.

Edmundo Sosa is not the only bench player stepping up in a big way

Edmundo Sosa is not the only bench player to be given an opportunity after Trea Turner's move to the IL. Kody Clemens was brought back up from Triple-A to fill the bench spot left by Sosa who moved into Turner's role.

Clemens came into the game off the bench during the second game of the Washington Nationals series and gifted the Phillies a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth to send it to extra innings, where the Phillies ultimately won. He started the next game at second base, hit two RBI doubles and scored two runs to help the Phillies win 11-5. 

In light of Clemens' surprisingly good performances, the Phillies could decide to start Clemens over Sosa by putting him at second base and moving Bryson Stott to shortstop. It will be interesting to see how the Phillies move forward with both Sosa and Clemens as viable, trustworthy starting options, but with only room for one at a time.