One of the most important things for the 2017 Phillies was for everyone to just stay frickin’ healthy. So far, Clay Buchholz and Howie Kendrick have not obliged, and now right-hander Aaron Nola is back on the shelf after straining his lower back. The club announced Monday afternoon that Nola would be hitting the 10-day DL, retroactive to Friday.
#Phillies have placed RHP Aaron Nola on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain. The transaction is retroactive to April 21.— Phillies (@Phillies) April 24, 2017
Nola, you might remember, hurt his elbow last year. You might also remember how good Nola looked when healthy in 2015 and early 2016, which is what makes this latest DL trip that much more hurtful.
The Phillies’ recent history with back injuries, although not necessarily a predictor, is kind of ugly. Roy Oswalt in 2011; Freddy Galvis in 2012; Mike Adams in 2013; Roy Halladay succumbed to a bad back and Matt Harrison arrived with one. The tricky thing about balky backs is how persistent they can be, and it’s unclear exactly how much time Nola will have to miss as he rests up.
But we soldier on! The early thought is that Nick Pivetta, the Lehigh Valley righty off to a tremendous start with the IronPigs, will get the call to fill in for Nola on Wednesday against the Marlins, ideally as a spot starter before Nola comes back to take his regular turn. That’s probably the best-case scenario.
The Phillies have lost another starter. Aaron Nola is on the DL with a lower back strain. I’d expect to see Nick Pivetta on Wednesday.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 24, 2017
For the 24-year-old Pivetta, he would reach the Majors four years after being drafted in the fourth round by the Nationals and arriving in return for Jonathan Papelbon in 2015. Through three starts, Pivetta has pitched 19 innings with 24 strikeouts and two walks. As he’s already on the 40-man roster and Jake Thompson just started on Sunday, Pivetta’s recall seems to add up.
Hopefully, we’ll only be holding our collective breath for Nola another week. Until then, all we can do is wait for good news, and thankfully get a look at an intriguing arm in the meantime. I think we’ve all learned how to find the silver lining by this point.