Phillies’ 3-Time All-Star Volunteered to Replace Trea Turner After Injury

Trea Turner

Getty Philadelphia Phillies Trea Turner is expected to miss significant time with an injury, but teammate Whit Merrifield wants to step up

The Philadelphia Phillies have enjoyed the best start to a season since the mid-1990s, racking up the most wins in all of MLB.

But the team took a significant blow when franchise shortstop Trea Turner went down with a hamstring injury that could keep him off the field for six weeks or more. In the wake of the injury, three-time All-Star utilityman Whit Merrifield volunteered to fill in at a position he has never seen in nine big-league seasons.

“Merrifield texted (manager Rob) Thompson … once word spread that Turner was discouraged about how he felt,” Matt Gelb reported for The Athletic. “The veteran volunteered for early work at shortstop — a position he has not played since college — to offer the Phillies another option.”

Whit Merrifield Is Looking for an Opportunity to Prove Value to the Philadelphia Phillies

After signing a one-year, $8 million deal to join the Phillies as a versatile bench option, Merrifield has struggled at the plate with a .246/.295/.386 slash line and two homers in 57 at bats so far. Those numbers are well below the production he enjoyed in three All-Star seasons of 2019, 2021 and 2023.

But Merrified has also started games all over the diamond, including in right field, left field, second base, third base and as a designated hitter.

The team may still opt to give him a look at shortstop, but in the immediate wake of Turner’s injury they have slotted Edmundo Sosa in at shortstop, with Merrifield covering second base in a single game where Bryson Stott was moved to fill in for Turner.

“Filling shortstop is one thing,” Gelb added. “Finding the proper right-handed hitter to slot between Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper is another issue.”

Thompson moved J.T. Realmuto to Turner’s batting order spot, but the team will surely miss the shortstop’s bat, as he’s been slashing .343/.392/.460 with nine RBI and 10 steals in 137 at bats so far.

“Replacing Turner is impossible,” as Gelb put it. “He is the most dynamic player on the roster. The Phillies lose a stolen-base threat at the top of the order.”

Whit Merrifield Is Looking for Everyday Playing Time With the Philadelphia Phillies

Though it might be impossible to replace Turner, Merrifield seems intent on picking up the slack where he can — the type of role that was envisioned for him when he signed with the team this offseason.

“I’ve always felt my game shows itself when I’m in there every day and you can see the different things that I can do,” he said before a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m not a guy that’s going to pinch hit and hit a 450-foot bomb and everybody’s going to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah.’ I’ve got to do some things.”

Following that comment, Merrifield hit in Turner’s batting order spot, recording one hit and one strikeouts in five at bats. As Turner remains out of the lineup, Merrifield may have more chances to demonstrate his value for this Phillies team.

“I wanted to come in and initially be that 10th man but make it where we have the best 10-man group in baseball,” he said, per Lauber. “I’ve been a good player in this league for a long time, and I still feel like I’m a good player… I can still play this game at a high level.”

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