Phillies Starter Notes: Eickhoff Has Setback, Velasquez Improves
The starting pitching on the Phillies has been part of the reason for the early success of the Phillies, who pulled into first place on Friday night, percentage points ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. But the success has come without one of their promising arms in starter Jerad Eickhoff. Eickhoff suffered yet another setback in his rehab on Friday.
Jim Salsibury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Eickhoff is once again having a "tingling" sensation in his fingers:
Eickhoff has experienced on-again, off-again tingling in the fingers on his right hand when he throws. He experienced the sensation again while throwing to hitters in Clearwater and will return to Philadelphia to be checked by doctors, according to manager Gabe Kapler.
The Phillies could use Eickhoff this week, when their available starting pitching falls short of the need.
Starter Vince Velasquez was placed on the 10-day disabled list a week ago after taking a liner to his forearm. The diagnosis was a contusion (a deep bruise) and Salisbury reports that Velasquez could return this week, perhaps starting on Wednesday. But the Phillies would need to fill not one, but two rotation slots before then.
Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola are able to pitch a combination of Sunday and Monday. Salisbury says that Eflin and Nola could both pitch on Monday, perhaps relieving the bullpen burden on a long day. A 26th man (Jake Thompson?) could help pitch some innings that day and a starter from Triple-A could pitch on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Enyel De Los Santos improved to 9-2 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. De Los Santos was named starter of the Triple-A All-Star game and was named to the Futures Game next Sunday in Washington, D.C. The All-Star game is set for Wednesday, but De Los Santos could end up getting a start for the Phillies on Tuesday.
As to who could pitch Sunday, Drew Anderson started for the IronPigts last on July 2nd, meaning he has had his full reset. Anderson is currently on the Phillies 40-man roster and could be brought up for one start and returned in time for Monday's double-header to give the Phillies one more fresh arm for the long day Monday.
One Phillies player will have to lose his 40-man roster spot to make this happen. That could be lefty Adam Morgan, who continues to struggle. Coming into Friday night's game with a 14-4 lead, Morgan allowed two hits and a walk and one run before getting the final out. Morgan has an ERA of 5.32 and a WHIP of 1.65.
The Phillies could bring in say, Hoby Miner between Anderson's start on Sunday and a debut of Del Los Santos on Tuesday just to have an extra arm for the double-header.