The Phillies received some troubling news on rehabbing right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, as he experienced numbness in his fingers during his most recent rehab appearance (Twitter link via Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia).
As Todd Zolecki of MLB.com further notes, Eickhoff experienced a similar sensation in his hand last August and ultimately did not pitch again in 2017 (due to nerve irritation). His rehab has been shut down for now, and he’ll be reevaluated. Eickhoff has yet to pitch in the Majors this season after opening the year on the DL due to a lat strain.
It’s a discouraging outcome for a hot Phillies team that has gone 7-3 in its past 10 games and currently sits 1.5 games out of first in the National League East with an overall record of 26-18. Though the 27-year-old Eickhoff struggled in 2017, he’s been a fairly consistent fixture in the Philadelphia rotation since being acquired as an unheralded piece of 2015’s Cole Hamels blockbuster. In 65 starts since being acquired in late July that season, Eickhoff has given the Phillies 376 1/3 innings of 3.87 ERA ball, averaging 8.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 1.22 HR/9 with a 39.2 percent ground-ball rate along the way. He was particularly impressive in 2016, logging 197 1/3 innings over 33 starts and turning in a 3.65 ERA.
[Related: Philadelphia Phillies depth chart]
Eickhoff had been expected to rejoin the Phillies’ rotation immediately upon being activated from the disabled list, but with him on the shelf indefinitely, pending reevaluation, the Phils will continue to shuffle arms through the final spot in their rotation in hopes that someone cements himself in that position.
Ace Aaron Nola and free-agent signing Jake Arrieta are currently joined by emerging righty Nick Pivetta in the top 60 percent of the Phils’ rotation. Meanwhile, righty Zach Eflin has impressed in three starts since coming up from the minors in hopes of laying claim to a permanent starting job. Mercurial right-hander Vince Velasquez has, at times, flashed brilliance at the big league level but has also been maddeningly inconsistent for the organization. Other options for the Phillies include Drew Hutchison (currently in the ’pen) and Triple-A hurlers Jake Thompson, Ben Lively and Mark Leiter Jr. Top prospect Sixto Sanchez is viewed as a potential building block as well, though the 19-year-old is still a ways from big league readiness.