Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins announced Monday that he expects to be ready for 2021 Opening Day after being medically cleared over the weekend, according to Jeff Skversky of 6abc. Hoskins underwent Tommy John surgery last October, an operation that included a four-to-six-month recovery period.
Hoskins, 27, appeared in 41 games last season, in which he hit .245/.384/.503 (137 OPS+) with 10 home runs. For his career, he's been a .239/.366/.495 (125 OPS+) hitter with 91 home runs in 404 games.
Hoskins' recovery is good news for the Phillies, who will need health (and luck) to be on their side if they're to make noise in the National League East this season. The Phillies mostly doubled-down on last year's lineup over the winter by re-signing catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Didi Gregorius. (Philadelphia did add Brad Miller to its bench, and Miller would have ostensibly been the playing time benefactor if Hoskins had required more time to recovery.)
New executives Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld did make a number of tweaks to the pitching staff, however, adding starting pitchers Matt Moore and Chase Anderson, as well as relievers Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Brandon Kintzler, and Tony Watson.
The Phillies finished third in the East last season with a 28-32 record. They were seven games back of the Atlanta Braves and three games behind the Miami Marlins for second place. Had the Phillies found a way to overtake the Marlins, they would have qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2011.
It does not appear that the expanded postseason will be in place this season, meaning that the Phillies will have to do more than finish second in the division to end their playoff drought.