The Philadelphia Phillies just got even thinner at the first base position. The lineup card for Friday's home opener against the Cincinnati Reds featured Darick Hall out of the lineup and Kody Clemens getting recalled from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, to start at first.
In a simultaneous move, the Phillies officially announced that Darick Hall will be on the 10-day injured list with a right thumb sprain, which occurred when Hall slid into second during Wednesday's series finale against the New York Yankees. With Rhys Hoskins out for the year with a torn ACL and starting pitchers Andrew Painter and Ranger Suárez banged up, the injuries keep piling up before the first week of April is over for the reigning National League champions.
Who is the best option at first base for the Philadelphia Phillies if Darick Hall's absence is long-term?
Kody Clemens is the player that Phillies' manager Rob Thomson has tasked with covering first base on Friday, and the left-handed bat has shown why he should get the chance to start on Friday against Reds' starter, the right-handed Hunter Greene. Clemens batted .319/.385/.617 in his 52 plate appearances for the Phillies during Spring Training in 2023, and last season, Clemens batted .274/.312/.535 in 264 plate appearances for the Toledo Mud Hens, the Detroit Tigers Triple-A affiliate.
Clemens also possesses some upside with his fielding, with no errors in 58 chances at first in the majors, and one error in 138 chances at first in the minor leagues. However, Clemens may need time to adjust to the big leagues, as he bats just .145/.197/.308 across 127 plate appearances, according to baseballreference.com.
If the Phillies decide to go a different direction to replace Hall beyond Friday, third baseball Alec Bohm could slide across the diamond to cover first base. Bohm has done this throughout his baseball career, including in the Phillies' last series against the New York Yankees. In this scenario, the versatile infielder Edmundo Sosa would cover third base for Bohm if the Phillies need another option as it has now been reported that Hall may be set to undergo thumb surgery before he can return to play.
While we do not know how long Hall is expected to miss, it will be longer than 10 days if surgery is required. No matter if Clemens, Bohm, or any other player is able to find success at first base for a long stretch in 2023, it could lead to a role lasting longer than one season. Rhys Hoskins will be eligible for Free Agency following 2023, and Darick Hall will turn 29 during the 2024 season while still having under 50 career games played in the majors to date.