Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins will soon make his spring debut, but another player has been assigned his No. 17 in the meantime.
Philadelphia Phillies spring training is in full swing, with a week of games already played in their 2023 Grapefruit League schedule.
While blockbuster offseason signing Trea Turner and rising pitching prospect Andrew Painter have already impressed — among others — one notable Phillies player who has been absent is first baseman Rhys Hoskins.
The Phillies are easing Hoskins into baseball activities, as he is coming off of undergoing a minor arthroscopic knee surgery in December. While Hoskins is expected to make his spring debut this weekend, the slugger's uniform No. 17 will take the field before then.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber points out, the Phillies assigned Hoskins' number to minor-league first baseman Nick Podkul for their Thursday nationally televised game against the Boston Red Sox.
Uniform numbers tend to run out, especially early in spring training when many of their minor-league prospects are still assigned to big-league camp. Still, seeing another player wear a uniform number that has belonged to Hoskins since his big-league debut in August 2017 is something worth noting.
And, it is somewhat symbolic, with Hoskins set the enter the 2023 season on a contract year. As the Athletic's Matt Gelb reports, Hoskins and the organization have not discussed a long-term contract extension. These discussions tend to fall to the wayside once the season begins. The Phillies and ace pitcher Aaron Nola, on the other hand, reportedly have made progress in negotiations for a long-term extension.
It would be difficult to see Hoskins play for another team in 2024, especially after his iconic moments this past "Red October" and hopefully more to come this fall. Already with 149 doubles, 148 home runs, and 405 RBI in the soon-to-be 30-year-old's career, one would think the best is yet to come for the California native.