Phillies hope Zack Wheeler’s trip to the injured list is a quick one

As the Phillies get one of their stars back, another is going down.

Zack Wheeler, the team’s top starting pitcher, is headed to the 15-day injured list with right forearm tendinitis, the club announced about an hour before Thursday’s night game against the Cincinnati Reds.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said the injury was not serious and he hoped the right-hander would miss just two starts.

Wheeler was supposed to go Friday night against Pittsburgh. Bailey Falter will now get that start. Bryce Harper will come off the injured list for that game after missing two months with a broken left thumb.

While Harper was winning the National League MVP award last season, Wheeler was leading the majors in innings (213 1/3) and finishing second in the league’s Cy Young race. His loss is a big one as he sports a 3.07 ERA in 23 starts.

In an 18-start span from April 28 to August 9, Wheeler had a 1.97 ERA and a .206 opponents’ batting average. Over his last two starts, both losses to the New York Mets, he gave up 10 earned runs, 14 hits and five walks in 11 1/3 innings. After both starts, the pitcher talked about how good he felt.

“I can’t say this had anything to do with the last two outings, no,” Dombrowski said.

Dombrowski downplayed the seriousness of Wheeler’s issue and indicated that the trip to the IL was done out of caution and common sense. No MRI is planned.

“You get to this time of the year with about any player or pitcher and there is something that they’re not 100 percent,” Dombrowski said. “He’s been dealing with this as probably every pitcher on our staff has been dealing with something.

“Over the last little time period, maybe it bothered him a little more. But he felt by all means he could take the ball and go out there and pitch (Friday), but when we talked about it, we felt we’d much rather knock this thing out and not have him go out and deal with it.

“He’s not happy. He’d rather have taken the ball. He also understands this is the wise thing to do. There’s still a long time to go.”

Wheeler is the second uber important Phillies pitcher to go on the IL this week, joining closer Seranthony Dominguez, who has triceps tendinitis. The Phils hope Dominguez will return in early September.

Wheeler’s assignment to the 15-day IL is backdated to Monday. He would be eligible to return on September 6, which would mean he’d miss just two starts.

The Phillies sure hope he’s not out much longer than that. He is crucial to the team’s chances of clinching a postseason berth and possibly winning a series if successful.

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