Many times, the injuries expected to be something relatively minor turn out to be much worse. Such is the case with Aaron Altherr, who was listed as day-to-day after injuring his wrist making a diving catch early in last Friday's spring training game. Both Altherr and the Phillies believed that the injury wasn't anything that would keep him sidelined for too long, but as is the case with many injuries, things changed.
Altherr, 25, officially suffered a torn extensor carpi ulnaris retinaculum in his left wrist. The extensor carpi ulnaris [ECU] is a tendon on the outside part of the wrist that extends into the forearm. The retinaculum is a sheath that covers the tendon, preventing it from bowing too far. In mild cases of the injury, a splint and rest are prescribed, but Altherr's injury is severe enough to require surgery to repair the injury. The surgery will be performed Wednesday (March 9th) by Dr. Randall Culp.
The original prognosis is that Altherr will miss four to six months, but the team will know more about a possible timetable following Wednesday's surgery.
Altherr, who made his major league debut with the Phillies in 2014, played in 39 games with the Phillies last season, hitting five home runs and batting .241 on the season. Those numbers left him as the prohibitive favorite to open the season in right field for Philadelphia. Altherr's injury and the time he will miss, hits a little harder since last year's starting left fielder, Cody Asche, who was going to be fighting for a starting job, has been sidelined with an oblique injury and hasn't played yet this spring. The favorite to open the season in left field this year has been veteran Peter Bourjos, who signed with the Phillies during the offseason. Bourjos could move to right field, opening a spot for Asche in left.
Another potential solution would be for Tyler Goeddel, who the Phillies took from the Tampa Bay Rays in the Rule 5 Draft, to play in right field. Non-rster player David Lough is also a potential candidate to take Altherr's spot on the 25-man roster, and potentially win a starting job this spring. Goeddel went 1-for-3 in the Phillies 4-2 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday, leaving his spring average at .333. Lough went 0-for-1 on Tuesday and is now hitting .300 with the Phillies. Last season, the Phillies put another Rule 5 pick, Odubel Herrera in center field, a position he had never played, and the move worked well, with Herrera leading the team in hitting.
Aaron Altherr's career major league stats