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Phillies’ Brandon Marsh has knee surgery, expected to be ready for opening day

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Brandon Marsh #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts while rounding bases after hitting a two run home run during the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on September 26, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 26: Brandon Marsh #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts while rounding bases after hitting a two run home run during the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on September 26, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
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The Phillies shared some unexpected news on Friday: Outfielder Brandon Marsh underwent left knee arthroscopic debridement surgery with Dr. Steven Cohen. The team said he is expected to return to play in about three to four weeks, and will be ready by opening day.

The type of surgery Marsh underwent is minimally invasive. The procedure removes “broken down bits of cartilage and tissues to help reduce pain and improve movement.” President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Marsh began experiencing symptoms a few days ago.

“When he was working out, he felt it,” Dombrowski said. “[It] appears to have been a floating piece of cartilage that moved to a place that irritated him.”

Phillies pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Clearwater, Fla., on Tuesday with the first workout scheduled for Wednesday. The first full squad workout will be Feb. 19.

It is unclear how the delayed start will impact Marsh’s production at the plate, even if he is able to play in the season opener at home on March 28 against the Braves. The Phillies are short on outfield depth. After designating Símon Muzziotti for assignment on Wednesday, they now have six outfielders on their 40-man roster, including Marsh, and one of them — Kyle Schwarber — likely will not play much outfield this season.

That leaves Johan Rojas, Cristian Pache, Jake Cave, and Nick Castellanos. Rojas will be given some runway to prove that he can produce at the plate, but Dombrowski has said he will not anoint Rojas as the starting center fielder.

The Phillies’ top outfield prospects — Justin Crawford, Carlos De La Cruz, and Gabriel Rincones Jr. — are not ready yet. There is still time for the team to acquire another backup outfielder.

Marsh, 26, was coming off the best season of his three-year career, hitting .277/.372/.458 with 12 home runs. He was moved to left field when Rojas was called up in July and took to the position quickly. He played a lot of left field when he was with the Angels because Mike Trout was in center field. He grades better in left field than center.

Alex Coffey and Scott Lauber are reporters for The Philadelphia Inquirer

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