Recently, the Philadelphia Phillies upgraded their starting rotation by signing free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta, but it has already downgraded again thanks to injury.
Right-handed pitcher Jerad Eickhoff will begin the 2018 season on the disabled list for the Phillies due to a strained lat muscle that is expected to keep out for a time frame of 6-8 weeks. Eickhoff will not be able to throw for at least a week, and will have to start over his entire spring training program, per Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic.
With Arrieta on board, Eickhoff was expected to open the season as the team’s number three starter and be followed by Vince Velasquez in the rotation, while Aaron Nola was still slated to start Opening Day. There is even uncertainty as to whether or not Arrieta will be ready to pitch in the regular season right away after taking so much time off, but he’s hopeful to be ready for the 162-game grind that will likely include 30+ starts.
Eickhoff sustained the injury while pitching against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a spring training game on March 9, according to manager Gape Kapler. Kapler says Eickhoff felt some discomfort during one of the last pitches of his outing that day, and was sent back to Philadelphia where the injury was diagnosed.
This injury likely throws Nick Pivetta back into the starting rotation mix for Philadelphia, while Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson Ben Lively, Tom Eshelman, and Mark Leiter Jr. are all candidates for the fifth and final spot in the rotation.
Philadelphia acquired Eickhoff in the trade that sent Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers in 2015. Also acquired in the trade where Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro, who both figure to make a big impact for the Phillies in 2018 after having success in during their brief time in the majors in 2017.
The 27-year-old Eickhoff went 4-8 with a 4.71 earned run average and 118 strikeouts in 128 innings of work in 2017. He also went 11-14 with a 3.65 earned run average and 167 strikeouts in 197.1 innings during his first full-season in 2016.
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