Herrera confident he'll be ready for opener

Herrera confident he'll be ready for opener

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Odubel Herrera laughed and shook his head at the reporter in front of him as though he had eight heads.

Come on, of course he will be ready by Opening Day.

"It's a little bit behind, nothing major," Herrera said on Tuesday morning at Bright House Field.

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Herrera has not played in a Grapefruit League game since March 12 because of a bruised left middle finger, an injury he sustained sliding head first into home plate on March 6. It might not be such a big deal, except Aaron Altherr is sidelined until at least July following surgery on his left wrist, and Cody Asche might open the season on the disabled list because of a strained right oblique.

Combine those two injuries with Herrera's injured finger, and the Phillies are left with Peter Bourjos, Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Goeddel, Darnell Sweeney, and non-roster invitees David Lough and Cedric Hunter as the only healthy outfielders in camp.

Opening Day is 13 days away.

Manager Pete Mackanin on Monday expressed concern about Herrera's seemingly slow recovery, but others in the organization do not seem to be alarmed. In fact, folks seem to believe Herrera will be ready by Opening Day. In fact, Mackanin said after Tuesday's 7-5 loss to the Twins that he expects Herrera to be "ready in the next day or two."

That said, the Phillies have talked to teams about finding outfield help before the season opener on April 4 in Cincinnati.

"I'm getting treatment on it, and it feels better today," Herrera said. "I saw a doctor this morning. There's a little bit of inflammation left, but they're making a finger guard so I can take some swings. And I felt a lot better with the finger guard on.

"I anticipate [being] back on the field before next week."

Asche, who took batting practice on Tuesday morning at Carpenter Complex, is happy with how he feels, but he is not yet ready to appear in his first Grapefruit League game. Mackanin said that Asche could appear in a Minor League game on Wednesday, although it seems nobody is confident Asche could be ready by Opening Day.

"You know, it's really hard to tell, because I've never been in this situation before," Asche said. "I've always just gotten my Spring Training at-bats and then, even if I didn't feel good hitting, I just went and played. So it would be unfair for me to tell you guys that. It would be unfair to everybody making decisions, too.

"It's not to the point where it's hurt anymore. It's more where you've got to just get over mental hurdles. It's like if you broke a foot and you wanted to go running. It's going to take baby steps. It's such a violent movement."

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.