Things had been going so well this spring that the Phillies were due for some bad news. On Friday, they got some.
Jerad Eickhoff has a mild lat strain and is out 6-8 weeks. He will not throw for 7-10 more days and will have to restart his spring training program. #Phillies— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) March 16, 2018
Jerad Eickhoff, now the Phillies No. 3 starter, is headed for the disabled list with a lat strain. We won’t see him until mid May at the earliest.
Eickhoff hadn’t had the best spring (a 7.36 ERA is not great), but he was rebounding from a 2017 that was stifled by injury. There was a decent chance that he could get back to the pitcher he was in 2016, and while that could still happen, he won’t be able to even start on the comeback trail until the end of May.
Eickhoff was not going to be the lynchpin that held this season together, but his steadiness could have helped elevate the middle and back of the Phillies rotation. Eickhoff’s injury means that Nick Pivetta, who had the fourth rotation spot locked down before Jake Arrieta signed, is now back in the fourth spot.
And that means that there’s another open position in the rotation. Unless the Phillies sign Alex Cobb, it’ll probably be filled with Ben Lively or Zach Eflin, or possibly Mark Leiter Jr. That means the last few weeks of Phillies camp will be a little interesting — just not the kind of interesting we all hoped for.