CLEARWATER, Fla. — Around 1 p.m. Friday, Darrick Hall saw Rhys Hoskins standing by his locker in the Phillies Clubhouse. It was the first time he had seen him since Thursday, when the veteran first baseman tore the ACL on his left knee trying to field a ground ball.
A lot has changed during these 24 hours. Shortly after the injury, the Phillies announced that Hoskins had surgery and will miss the rest of the season. He announced that he would be his successor.
It was a difficult situation to handle. Hall quietly spent six minor league seasons waiting for his chance. It finally got here, but it came at the expense of his friends and mentors.
He walked over and hugged his teammate.
“I’m sorry, Rhys,” he said. “This is really hard.”
Hoskins did not accept an apology.
“Actually, I am happy with you,” he said.
Hall was moved, but not surprised, by his teammates’ reaction. This is who Hoskins has always been. When Hall was attending minor league spring training, he watched Hoskins batting practice. He saw a player who was patient and made good decisions. So he started asking him questions about his approach, and Hoskins always made time to answer.
Hall was selected in the 14th round of the 2016 draft. He was neither a front-runner nor a well-known name, but Hoskins made it a point to learn. A few years later, when Hall made his big league debut in June 2022, he walked into the Phillies’ clubhouse and found his locker next to his friend.
Hall, who was called in to replace him as the designated hitter in the wake of Bryce Harper’s broken thumb, took advantage of it. And, as always, Hoskins will give him thoughtful answers.
“It was easy, but his time and help meant everything to me,” Hall said.
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Hall credits Hoskins with shaping who he is as a player today. He wasn’t at the Baycare Ballpark when he got injured. He was at the local hospital with his wife Ashley during his surgery. While he was sitting in his post-surgery room, he saw a clip of Hoskins circulating on his Twitter.
He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He tried to watch the clip in slow motion to see how Hoskins had hurt himself, but it wasn’t clear. There was no point in making it.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Hall said. “As athletes, we aim to compete at a high level. We put all of this preparation into our bodies and spend time in the weight room. It breaks your heart when it happened because you know all the work he put in. It’s really sad.
When I got the news that Hall would be spending most of his playing time at first base this season, it was bittersweet. However, he sees it as an opportunity to step up for the team. And he believes Hoskins sees it the same way.
“He basically allowed me to do it,” Hall said. “And that’s the ultimate sign of respect. As a player, his heart is there. He knows we need people to step up.”
“We play similar positions and he can’t do that anymore.” [this year]So it’s your chance to move the needle forward for the team. It’s not personal. Move the needle as much as possible. It’s not meant to replace Rhys. I will be Darrick Hall. I feel ready. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, injuries do happen. But if there is an opportunity to help the team, that is our goal. “
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