The Phillies Announced They’ve Placed Reliever Corey Knebel on the 15-day injured list with a right lat strain. bullpen mate Sam Coonrod is back from the 60-day IL to take Knebel’s spot on the active roster. To clear a place on the 40-man for Coonrod, recent waiver claim Andrew Vasquez designated for assignment.
An IL stint for Knebel seemed likely after the veteran left yesterday due to the crossbar issue. The team announced that he was on his way to an MRI last night, the results of which are still unclear. The image results will determine how long Knebel is on the shelf, but at least he will have to miss the coming weeks. A right lat strain cost Knebel more than three months with the Dodgers last season, although it’s not currently known if his current problem is of the same severity. Signed to a $10 million offseason one-year contract, the 30-year-old has a decent 3.43 ERA over 44 2/3 innings in a Phils uniform, although that comes with a personal worst 21.1% strikeout rate.
To take Knebel’s bullpen spot, the Phils recover Coonrod to make his season debut. The hard-throwing title holder was acquired from the Giants during the 2020-21 season and made 42 appearances during his debut campaign in Philadelphia. He posted a 4.04 to 42 1/3 frames ERA, striking out batters with a solid 25.9% clip while delivering a massive 57.1% ground ball percentage. Coupled with a fastball averaging close to 99 MPH, those peripherals suggested Coonrod could play an important role with high leverage in 2022.
Instead, he missed the first four months of the season after straining his throwing shoulder during Spring Training. The 29-year-old has been in rehab since July 22, including seven appearances with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is now apparently healthy enough for a return where he will add a powerful right-handed arm for interim manager Rob Thomson.
Vasquez has not made a major league appearance as Phillie. On the day of the deadline, he claimed waivers from the Blue Jays and was immediately selected for Lehigh Valley. He has appeared four times with the IronPigs, giving up two runs (one earned) with three strikeouts and a walk. He also performed very well with Toronto’s top partner for the first few months of the season, conceding just three runs in 11 frames with a 15:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while grounding out on two-thirds of batted balls.
That didn’t carry over into his brief big league look with the Jays, as the 28-year-old served six runs in 6 2/3 frames. This year’s nine MLB appearances equate to a career high for Vasquez, who has racked up 13 1/3 innings in the big league despite hitting the majors in four of the past five years. He’s performed pretty well in Triple-A for the past two years, but with those numbers intriguing enough, he’s bounced between four organizations in the past 12 months.
It is possible that Vasquez will change his uniform again soon, as he will reach the waiver wire in the coming days. He’s in his last minor league option year, so any claiming team could put him in Triple-A for the rest of this season (although he would have to crack the opening day roster in 2023 or be removed from the 40-man roster ). With Vasquez’s strong work in the minor league, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him land at another club looking for lefty bullpen depth.