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Hall working his way back from thumb injury

Darick Hall is a laid-back guy, who has no time for self-pity or for wondering what could have been.

When Rhys Hoskins was lost for the season due to an ACL injury, Hall figured to see his playing opportunities increase with the Phillies.

Instead, it was not long before he, too, was on the injured list with a thumb injury that required surgery.

Since his surgery in mid-April, Hall had just a few days to let the thumb rest and then was into the rehab routine.

Once the stitches were gone, he was in full rehab mode at the Phillies training facility in Clearwater.

The rehab process has gone flawlessly with no setbacks, and Hall is getting close to returning to the Phillies.

But he admits that he is not all the way back.

“Trying to get strength is the challenge,” said Hall. “You forget that you don’t have to hit home runs all the time. A hit is good enough, a double or a single.”

While many players look to skirt the rehab process and think they are ready before they really are, Hall is content to listen to the Phillies training staff, and to his body.

The Phillies appear not to rush him either, though adding his big, left-handed bat to the lineup would be nice.

Especially since Alec Bohm - who was getting most of the playing time at first base - is also on the injured list with a sore hamstring.

When the IronPigs hit the field in Syracuse for a six-game series this week, it’s likely that Hall will be in the lineup, either at DH, or as the team’s first baseman.

“Guys know when they hit the ball on the barrel; it goes where it needs to go,” said Hall. “When I first started, it wasn’t going. We’re getting closer.”

Hall reported that his batting practice session this past Saturday was the best he’s had since the injury.

He liked the way the ball was coming off the bat, and the fact that he was able to consistently hit the ball off the barrel.

“I feel competitive in games as far as my eyes, and what I’m swinging at from my work in Florida,” said Hall. “My goal is if I hit a home run, great. Now, it’s about hitting the ball hard.”

The 27-year-old is eligible to be reactivated from the IL, however more work with the IronPigs is likely to come for Hall before he heads back to Philadelphia to rejoin a team in need of a turnaround.

Phillies reliever Jose Alvarado was also with the IronPigs as he works his way back from the IL. Alvarado experienced elbow inflammation and was placed on the IL in early May.

He threw one inning with the IronPigs on Saturday, giving up one hit and picking up one strikeout. Alvarado was not his usual self, but did hit 99 on the radar gun.

While the IronPigs go on the road, Alvarado is going to make the trip down Route 222 to make at least one more rehab appearance with the Reading Fightins. He could be activated either late this week or over the weekend, depending on his progress.

MORE HONORS FOR CAVE ... Jake Cave continues to hit for the IronPigs. After being named the International League’s Player of the Week for May 22-28, on Monday he was named the league’s Player of the Month for May. In the merry month of May, Cave hit .400/.500/.798 with Lehigh Valley, and led the IL in average, doubles (33), slugging percentage and OPS (1.298). He also finished second with 38 hits, and third in total bases (75) and on-base percentage. He had hits in his first 21 games with Lehigh Valley after the Phillies optioned him to Triple-A. The streak was the fourth longest in franchise history.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS ... The IronPigs lead all minor league baseball in save opportunities with 32. That is good, because it shows the team is leading late in games and just needs to lock it down. Unfortunately, they also have the most blown saves in all minor league baseball with 20. In all, 16 different pitchers have had save opportunities with Lehigh Valley and only three - Jace Vines (1-for-1), Jacob Barnes (1-for-1), and Luis Ortiz (2-for-2) haven’t blown a save this season.

WHERE ARE WE? ... The IronPigs currently stand two games above the .500 mark at 29-27. That record is only good enough for third place in the IL East, leaving them 10 ½ games behind Norfolk, and 3 ½ behind second-place Durham.

Darick Hall rounds the bases during a game with the IronPigs last season. Hall is currently working his way back from a thumb injury. CHERYL PURSELL/LEHIGH VALLEY IRONPIGS