NEW YORK — Speed is Roman Quinn's calling card for the Phillies. But the rookie outfielder will be a step slower than usual over the final three weeks of the season.
Quinn has a non-displaced fracture of the fifth proximal phalanx, a bone in a toe on his right foot, based on X-rays taken here Saturday. The injury occurred in the fifth inning Wednesday night, when he got hit by an 87-mph slider from Miami Marlins righthander, Sandy Alcantara.
Doctors have assured the Phillies that Quinn can't incur additional damage to his toe by playing through the injury, according to manager Gabe Kapler. Nevertheless, how much Quinn is able to play will be determined by his tolerance for pain. Quinn was limping in the Phillies clubhouse here Saturday and told Kapler that his foot still felt "tender to walk on."
"We will balance his physical well-being with using him as soon as possible," Kapler said. "We're not concerned. There are no interventions that need to happen. At this point, it's just a matter of tolerance."
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez played through a similar injury in July, according to Kapler, and never went on the disabled list. Hernandez didn't start three out of four games, then returned to the lineup regularly.
Quinn has been a catalyst for the Phillies since he got called up from triple A in late July. He's 27-for-80 (.338) with six doubles, three triples, one homer, and seven stolen bases in nine attempts. A 25-year-old switch hitter, he has cut into slumping Odubel Herrera's playing time in center field.
But Quinn also has been dogged by injuries throughout his career. Earlier this season, he had surgery on a torn ligament in his right middle finger. In previous years, he missed time with a torn Achilles tendon, a torn left quadriceps, and a strained elbow ligament.
In Quinn's absence, the Phillies used utilityman Pedro Florimon in right field late in Friday night's 4-3 victory over the New York Mets. They also have Aaron Altherr available as a late-game defensive replacement.
"Certainly there is probably no one quite like Quinn in that regard, a guy who can come off the bench and steal a big base in a big moment and go out and play all three outfield positions and be the best of maybe anybody we have on the roster," Kapler said. "I don't know if it complicates things, but it leaves us without a good weapon."
It's helpful to think of the Phillies' ever-changing lineup in terms of a line change in hockey.
On Friday night, Kapler stacked the lineup with righthanded hitters against Mets lefty Steven Matz. But when Matz left the game, Altherr and Jose Bautista were lifted for lefty-hitting Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams, respectively. On Saturday night, Kapler moved leadoff-hitting Carlos Santana to third base and put first baseman Justin Bour into the No. 2 spot in the lineup. But if the Phillies got an early lead, Kapler was likely to pull Bour, move Santana back to first, and get shortstop Scott Kingery into the game for defense.
It isn't ideal, but with the Phillies struggling to score runs, Kapler has had to mix and match to find combinations that might spur the offense.