Phillies rookie right-hander Zach Eflin had season-ending surgery Friday to repair his right patella tendon, Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice.com writes. The Phillies have also moved Eflin to the 60-day DL. He will likely require a similar surgery on his left knee in about six weeks, GM Matt Klentak said. The Phillies are hopeful he’ll be ready for Spring Training.
Eflin’s knee issues landed him on the DL earlier this month, but his knee troubles go back further — much further, according to Klentak.
“This is an issue he’s been fighting since he was a kid. I think he told me since he was 11 years old, he first started battling knee problems. The hope here is that it’s going to alleviate the problem,” Klentak says, via Lawrence. “And in just talking candidly with Zach last night, while not excited to undergo the knife today, he was pretty excited about the possibility of coming to Spring Training next year pain-free for the first time in his life.”
Eflin came up through the Padres system, then headed to the Phillies in December 2014 via two quick trades — first to the Dodgers in the Matt Kemp / Yasmani Grandal deal, then to Philadelphia in the Jimmy Rollins swap. The 22-year-old emerged as a big-league rotation candidate this year with a strong showing at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he posted a 2.90 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 68 1/3 innings. He struggled after being promoted, with a 5.54 ERA, 4.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 63 1/3 innings with the Phillies.
Eflin isn’t the only young starter the Phillies have lost to injury recently. Earlier this week, they shut down Aaron Nola with a UCL sprain and flexor strain. They’re currently going with a rotation of Jeremy Hellickson, Jerad Eickhoff, Vincent Velasquez, Jake Thompson and Adam Morgan.