Phils' Hernandez to DL; Benoit back in bullpen

Phils' Hernandez to DL; Benoit back in bullpen

ST. LOUIS -- Cesar Hernandez said there is no way it will take several weeks to recover from a strained left abdomen.

"Not for me," he said.

The Phillies placed Hernandez on the 10-day disabled list Sunday and he will have an MRI exam on Monday in Philadelphia. Howie Kendrick, who just spent six weeks on the DL with a similar injury, started at second base in Sunday's series finale against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he isn't sure if Kendrick will be the primary second baseman while Hernandez is out. Kendrick has played 1,113 of his 1,365 career games at second.

The Phillies activated right-hander Joaquin Benoit to take Hernandez's place on the 25-man roster. Benoit gives the Phillies an extra arm in the bullpen, which could come in handy Monday and Tuesday in Boston. The Phillies could make a move afterward to give Mackanin a full bench, but they could keep the extra arm, as Phillies starters have struggled to pitch deep into games.

But what happens if Hernandez's injury is worse than anticipated? Is Double-A Reading second baseman Scott Kingery a possibility?

"I don't know," Mackanin said. "I haven't spoken to [GM Matt Klentak] about it."

Kingery, rated the Phillies' No. 11 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, has several fans in the Phillies' clubhouse, so the idea of promoting him intrigues a few. He has posted huge numbers in Double-A, hitting .300 with 12 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 33 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and a .990 OPS in 259 plate appearances. The Eastern League just named him its Player of the Month in May.

But Kingery is not on the 40-man roster, and the injury to Hernandez is not expected to change Kingery's timeline to the big leagues. Expect a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley this summer before Kingery sees the Majors.

If the Phillies want to have a five-man bench at some point, Brock Stassi is the most likely player to be recalled. Triple-A outfielder Cameron Perkins could work, too. He is hitting .311 with 14 doubles, one triple, five home runs, 15 RBIs and an .899 OPS. He is not on the 40-man roster, but the Phillies could make a move to accommodate him.

Of course, Roman Quinn would have been a natural fit, except he once again finds himself on the DL. He has an injury to the UCL in his left elbow and he could miss several weeks. Triple-A outfielders Dylan Cozens and Nick Williams are on the 40-man roster, but the Phillies have said they want their top prospects to play regularly once they reach the big leagues.

But Cozens or Williams could help out a game or two, if needed. The Phillies did something similar last season when they recalled catcher Jorge Alfaro for a couple games in New York. They sent him back down and recalled him in September.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.