Altherr out 4-6 months, needs left wrist surgery

Altherr out 4-6 months, needs left wrist surgery

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies got bad news on Tuesday regarding Aaron Altherr's injured left wrist.

Altherr will have surgery on Wednesday in Philadelphia to repair a torn tendon sheath in the wrist. The Phillies said Altherr, who projected to be one of their Opening Day outfielders, will miss four to six months.

"We're hopeful he'll be back before the end of the season," general manager Matt Klentak said.

But Altherr's unexpected absence is a blow to an organization hoping to get as many looks at as many young players as possible this season. Altherr certainly fit into that group.

The 25-year-old hit .241 with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 22 RBIs and an .827 OPS in 39 games last season. Manager Pete Mackanin essentially declared Altherr one of his everyday outfielders before camp opened last month.

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But with Altherr likely out until at least July, the Phillies must find somebody to take his place.

Odubel Herrera and Peter Bourjos will be in the Opening Day outfield, but Cody Asche and Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Goeddel are in the running to start alongside them. David Lough, Darnell Sweeney and Cedric Hunter suddenly have a better shot at the fifth outfielder's job. Darin Ruf, Emmanuel Burris and others in camp also have played some outfield.

Goeddel went 1-for-3 with a double in Tuesday's 4-2 victory over the Pirates at Bright House Field. He is hitting .333 (6-for-18) with two doubles and three RBIs. Asche has not played this spring because of a strained right oblique. He remains day-to-day.

"Goeddel has made a great impression," Mackanin said. "Not only does he play a solid defense, he can run. He looks like a heady ballplayer, and I like his swing path. He seems to have good pitch recognition, especially when he gets behind in the count. He doesn't really offer at pitches that are out of the strike zone, which is really nice to see, a young player having good plate discipline like that. I like everything about him so far, and we'll just keep going."

Goeddel on his spring progress

Top outfield prospects Nick Williams and Roman Quinn? They are expected to open the season in the Minor Leagues.

"It's disappointing, certainly, for a young player who had a lot to prove," Klentak said about Altherr. "We were certainly excited to watch him play. But we're not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. We have a lot of good players in camp that are competing really hard for an opportunity. And now there is an opportunity."

Asked if the Phillies could look outside the organization, Klentak said, "We owe it to the guys in camp to give them that chance to fill that spot. We'll survey the market. If there's something out there, we'll explore it, but we feel pretty good about the guys we have here."

It is worth noting the Phillies will have priority on the waiver wire through the end of April, so if any outfielders become available, they could get them.

Altherr injured the wrist last Friday, when he dived to make a catch against the Braves at Bright House Field. He visited hand and wrist specialist Randall Culp on Monday in Philadelphia. Altherr received a second opinion on Tuesday in New York.

The Phillies said Culp will perform the surgery -- officially, he is repairing a torn extensor carpi ulnaris retinaculum -- at the Philadelphia Hand Center. Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira had a similar surgery in July 2013. Teixeira said at the time he expected to be fully healed in six months. He played the following season, although he posted his second-lowest OPS (.711) in 2014 before rebounding with a .906 OPS last season.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.