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Rehabbing Phillie Darick Hall patiently progressing

Nov 18, 2023

Darick Hall was sitting dead red in a 3-0 count in the fifth inning of Friday night's game against RailRiders starter Randy Vasquez.

He got a fastball in the zone and fouled it off. Another hittable pitch followed, and he fouled that off, too.

"I was lucky he threw me three strikes," Hall said. "That's an instance where I say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to be patient.’ That at-bat should have been over on the 3-0 pitch. Maybe next week it is."

Hall is five games into his rehab assignment following right thumb surgery in early April. The 27-year-old first baseman has six hits in 20 at-bats with two doubles and no home runs. His bloop single was thrown away with two outs in the ninth Sunday. It allowed Jake Cave to score the winning run in an 8-7 victory over the RailRiders.

The left handed-hitting Arizona native was expected to be the Phillies’ main option first base option with Rhys Hoskins expected to miss the season with a knee injury but suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb sliding into second base in an April 5 game at Yankee Stadium.

Hall understands the recovery process. He realized early that the body will tell the mind when it's ready for major league pitching. That time is not now.

"In life and sports, you have to deal with the hand you’re dealt," he said. "I was dealt a bad hand, metaphorically and physically. I’m going to make the most of it. It's what I’ve always done in baseball and anything. I’m not going to get frustrated. I’ll get through it. When it comes, it comes."

Hall had surgery in mid-April, then began the rehab process four days later with light cardio work. He amped it up once the stitches were removed.

It was the first significant injury as a pro for the 2016 14th-round pick of the Phillies. It was the first surgery in the 27-year-old's life.

He appreciates that the Phillies medical and training staffs have been aggressive and smart throughout his rehab process.

"I’m in better shape than spring training," Hall said. "They push you hard down there [at the Phillies complex in Clearwater, Florida.]. I don't know what rehab used to be, but I went once before. It was good then. They push the envelope down there, keep your mind engaged so that you don't feel like it's just another day. I saw the benefits. I didn't have days when I worked a lot, but my body didn't recover. I stayed with it and saw the jump."

Hall took grounders his first week at the franchise's spring training complex and has not had any setbacks. He advanced to batting practice before playing in a game May 30 for low-A Clearwater. He had his first extra-base hit the next day.

He came to Lehigh Valley on June 2 after a day off and played three consecutive games to finish the home series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"Trying to get strength is the challenge," Hall said. "You forget that you don't have to hit home runs all the time. A hit is good enough, a double or single. [Friday night], I got a good cutter and stuck in front of the outfielder.

"Maybe I do that for a little bit until my ‘A swing’ comes out," he said. "It's there. I can hit home runs. When I’m hitting balls like that, I’m hitting my stride. My body feels right. The timing feels good. I can put my best swing on now and surprise myself. Maybe I’ll hit a home run, maybe a double."

Hall hit 28 home runs in 2022, second most in IronPigs history, before hitting nine more later that season in his first promotion to the Phillies. He came close to one Sunday, hitting a ball high off the 17-foot wall in right-center field for a double.

He knows the home run pop will return. He said he will remain patient until it does. For now, it's about continuing the daily progress that began weeks ago on the back fields in steamy Florida, far from live pitching.

"Guys know when they hit the ball on the barrel," Hall said, "it goes where it needs to go. When I first started, it wasn't going. We’re getting closer. [Saturday] was my best BP as far as how the ball was coming off the bat, the distance it was going, the repeatability of hitting the barrel. In the next few weeks, it will be where it needs to be. I feel competitive in games as far as my eyes and what I’m swinging at from my work in Florida. My goal is if I hit a home run, great. Now it's just about hitting the ball hard."

The IronPigs travel to Syracuse for a six-game series starting Tuesday. Hall is expected to make the trip. He is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list Tuesday, but that seems unlikely, despite the Phillies needs with Alec Bohm (hamstring) on the injured list.

Dustin Peterson homered twice in Sunday's win. He has three home runs in the last three games, six homers and 12 RBIs in his last nine dating back to May 18. … Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hit two home runs Sunday to give it a minor league-best 97 this season, including at least one in the last 21 games. … RailRider Estevan Florial extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning double. … IronPig Jake Cave's RBI double in the third was his 15th extra-base hit in his 18 games.

Morning Call reporter Tom Housenick can be reached at 610-820-6651 or at [email protected].

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