CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies anointed Aaron Altherr one of their everyday outfielders months ago.
Then, earlier this month, Altherr tore the tendon sheath in his left wrist, an injury that required surgery. The wrist will be immobilized another four weeks, and he is not expected to play until July, at the earliest. It is a blow for a young player the Phillies planned to test against Major League pitching for an extended stretch this season.
Altherr, 25, hit .241 with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 22 RBIs and an .827 OPS in 161 plate appearances last season. The Phillies liked what they saw, and they wanted to know if he could be part of their future outfield.
Altherr believes he can still make an impression, and he plans to play again this season.
"Oh, definitely," he said. "No doubt. I definitely can see myself being back sometime before the season's over. Definitely I have that goal in mind to get back before then."
It is possible. Rays outfielder Sam Fuld had the same surgery on April 3, 2012, giving him a similar timeline, and he returned on July 24. Others have had the surgery during the season, which delayed their return until the following year.
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira had the surgery in July 2013. He returned to the lineup in April 2014 but posted the lowest OPS (.711) of his career. He returned to form (.906 OPS) last season. Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista had the surgery in August 2012, then returned by Opening Day 2013 but posted his lowest OPS in four seasons (.856 OPS) before returning to form in 2014 (.928 OPS).
Mark DeRosa had surgery in October 2009 but called his procedure a "total failure," and he played only 73 games with the Giants in 2010 and 2011. Rickie Weeks had surgery in May 2009, returned the following season and posted a career-high .830 OPS.
"A couple guys have texted me about it, just to tell me to be patient, it might take a while," Altherr said. "I don't really want to hear that. I just want to hear you can get back as soon as possible. I'm going to try as hard as I can to get back faster.
"Everybody heals differently. It's just a matter of how my body feels and how it feels after I can start rehabbing and moving around. It's really up to me how I feel and how soon I can be back."
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.