Rich Hofmann: Galvis injury will test Phillies' mettle

Phillies second baseman Freddy Galvis tries to get to the the ball after first baseman John Mayberry misplayed a grounder from Dodger's pitcher Chris Capuano. A run scored making it LA 2 Phillies 1 in the third inning. Dodgers vs Phillies at Citizens Bank Park ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photogrpaher )
Phillies second baseman Freddy Galvis tries to get to the the ball after first baseman John Mayberry misplayed a grounder from Dodger's pitcher Chris Capuano. A run scored making it LA 2 Phillies 1 in the third inning. Dodgers vs Phillies at Citizens Bank Park ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photogrpaher )
Posted: June 08, 2012

FATE CAN BE cruel and, then again, fate can be a twisted wretch. For those keeping score at home, that transformation occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning of the Phillies' game Wednesday night when Freddy Galvis suddenly grabbed his back.

He has been the Phillies' sunshine this season amid all of their layers of gloom. They have lacked health this season, and they have not been lucky, and their deficiencies have been laid bare – but there was always Galvis, who has filled in at second base in the first 2 months of the season in a way that no one had a right to expect, playing impeccably in the field and hitting enough and becoming a favorite among fans looking for someone, anyone, to love.

"Fred-dy?... ? Fred-dy ... "

And then, after a swing, he winced in pain.

He massaged the small of his back after returning to the plate, and looked entirely uncomfortable, and athletic trainer Scott Sheridan and manager Charlie Manuel came out. After a minute or 2, Galvis convinced Sheridan he was OK and he continued the at-bat.

But after a subsequent swing, he looked into the dugout and, with a pained and resigned expression on his face, signaled with a quick gesture that he was done, that he would have to cut short his at-bat.

Hours later, after the team's fifth consecutive loss 6-5 to the Dodgers — the club announced that Galvis is headed to the disabled list with a low back strain. The whole thing came out of nowhere.

The water is rising all around them, and now this.

"It's another one of our guys going down. What more can I say?" Phils manager Charlie Manuel said.

And then he said plenty.

"It's kind of bad right now," he said, speaking of that five-game losing streak, and the team's deepening hole in the National League East.

"We've got to come right back out and play [Thursday]. We've got to show up and we've got to try and win the game. We've got to play as good as we possibly can and hopefully outplay them and win the game. That's what you have to do.

“Ain't nobody going to feel sorry for us?...?We're definitely not going to postpone the game or quit playing. We've got to come out and play. That's how I look at it.

“When you get knocked down, what do you do? You get up," Manuel said. "That's what we've got to do. We've got to keep coming out."

But it has to get harder, with each passing day, with each runner stranded on third base, with each name added to the medical report. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are in Florida, playing games with invisible runners, still unable to field their positions or break from the batter's box. Their return is weeks away, as is that of Roy Halladay and his bum shoulder.

The bullpen has been battered. The lineup has been inconsistent. Now, Galvis. As the manager said, "Everything about our team right now is kind of whacked up."

It isn't as if Galvis is irreplaceable; the guy is hitting .226, after all. But he proved, very quickly, to be a professional player who had a very good glove. He was a very predictable presence in the field. The Phillies do not have a whole lot of predictable anythings at this point, you might have noticed, and defense up the middle was something they could count on. That now comes into question. Just add it to the list.

"I can say this: don't expect us to be in first place right now," Manuel said. "I can tell you that. That's kind of how I look at it. We're definitely trying our best and things like that. I can't get upset at that because I know guys are trying and giving us what they've got. We're just not getting it done."

He is right about the fact that no one in the business could care less about their troubles. The Phillies have had a lot of success and a big enough payroll to buy their way out of some of their mistakes and their troubles over the last few seasons. They have won a lot and left a lot of people behind. In the world of goes-around/comes-around, they might just be facing the reckoning here. Again, no one cares.

So add Freddy Galvis to the list. And look out: His 15 days on the disabled list might just be the turning point of the season, one way or the other.   

Contact Rich Hofmann at hofmanr@phillynews.com, read his blog, The Idle Rich, at www.philly.com/TheIdleRich, or follow @theidlerich on Twitter. For recent columns, go to www.philly.com/RichHofmann.

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