Phillies pitcher Jerad Eickhoff barely saw a major league mound in 2018, and 2017 was no picnic either.  Eickhoff made 24 starts in 2017 with issues related to nerve irritation in his pitching hand, and 2018 included multiple occurrences of a lat strain.   Eickhoff came into 2019 Spring Training hopeful for a return to the Phillies starting rotation, but it will not happen right away.

According to several reports on Saturday morning including Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Eickhoff has been optioned to Lehigh Valley.  The move comes after he threw four innings of two-hit, one-run ball against the New York Yankees in a Friday evening game in Tampa.   This represents the section option year of Eickhoff's rookie contract and the Phillies will have one more.

The move also seemingly solidifies the starting rotation.  The Phillies appear to be set with Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez.  Even if the Phillies were to make a late signing of someone such as Dallas Keuchel, the rotation is likely that to open the season.

Eickhoff could join the starting rotation at some point.  After getting carpal tunnel surgery in the offseason, Eickhoff was a little bit behind his peers in Spring Training.  Heading to Triple-A gives Eickhoff the opportunity to show he can be effective every fifth day and to be ready to join the Phillies starting rotation.