The Phillies placed starter Zach Eflin on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to June 26, with a bruised right knee. Outfielder Oscar Mercado, claimed off waivers from the Guardians yesterday, has been added to the active roster in a corresponding move. Eflin told reporters he’s hopeful he could return after a minimal IL stay, which would only cost him two starts (via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com). The 28-year-old underwent surgery on both knees back in 2016, and he underwent another procedure to correct patellar issues in his right knee last September. His current injury doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as concerning, but the Phillies figure to be particularly cautious in bringing him back given that history.
An impending free agent, Eflin has made 13 starts this season. He owns a 4.37 ERA over 68 innings, striking out 19.6% of opposing hitters against a minuscule 5.3% walk rate. That kind of strike-throwing stability has made the former Padres farmhand a reliable member of the Philadelphia rotation for the past six-plus years. The Phils plan to recall left-hander Bailey Falter to start Friday night’s game in Eflin’s place, tweets Matt Gelb of the Athletic.
Some other injured list moves from around the game:
- The Astros placed left fielder Michael Brantley on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 27, due to right shoulder discomfort. Chas McCormick, who’d been optioned over the weekend, has been recalled to take his place on the active roster. (Position players typically need to spend a minimum of ten days in the minors after being optioned, but they can be recalled earlier if replacing an injured player). Brantley downplayed any long-term concerns, telling reporters (including Brian McTaggart of MLB.com) he was hopeful he could make it back after a brief stint. The 35-year-old continues to perform very well at the plate, carrying a .288/.370/.416 line through 277 plate appearances this season.
- The Brewers welcomed a pair of key contributors back from the injured list this evening. Righty Brandon Woodruff and second baseman Kolten Wong have each been reinstated, with Trevor Kelley and Pablo Reyes optioned out in corresponding moves. Woodruff will get the start during today’s game with the Rays, while Wong steps back in at the keystone. It’s the first MLB start in a month for Woodruff, who’s been out while dealing with a high ankle sprain and some hand numbness stemming from Raynaud’s syndrome. Wong has been out for three weeks on account of a calf strain.
- Between games of today’s doubleheader with the Guardians, the Twins brought back second baseman Jorge Polanco from the injured list. Outfielder Mark Contreras was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul to open active roster space. The switch-hitting Polanco is hitting fifth for the nightcap against Cleveland. He missed a little less than two weeks with some lower back tightness. Through 250 plate appearances, Polanco is hitting .245/.340/.389 with seven home runs. His return figures to push Luis Arraez back to first base and designated hitter, perhaps freeing Alex Kirilloff to see more time in left field. Minnesota lost primary left fielder Trevor Larnach to a core muscle injury over the weekend; he’s undergoing surgery and expected to miss six weeks.
I hope this is Eflin last year in Philly
I like Eflin a lot, but between Covid and injuries, the guy misses a ton of time.
would much rather him be back than Gibson
Eflin has more upside for sure, but Gibson has less injury issues. Pretty happy with the rotation as a whole, but they can definitely use 1 more quality starter. Who couldn’t though?
Phillies are going to need another SP regardless of Eflin’s status. I like Chad Kuhl’s early work, and the SHO is a great sign for his ability to take down innings as a 4/5.
I don’t think his knees will ever be 100%. Arthritis is on the horizon for sure. He’s a 5 maybe 4 starter.
Luis Arraez is the perfect leadoff hitter. Gets on base, hits for average, and doesn’t strikeout. Super underrated imo. When you have a guy like him leading off, you’re going to score a lot of runs, even if the rest of the line-up is average.
I agree @ MLB1225. Arraez has been excellent for Minnesota at the plate since his 2019 MLB debut. His career average is well over .300, he strikes out in less than 10% of his at bats and is also a doubles machine. He is the perfect lead off hitter. The only downside is that he is a first baseman with very little power. Most teams hope to get 25+ HRs from first base and Arraez can’t provide that level of power production. With that said, his bat is way too good to leave him out of the starting lineup. If he can improve his infield defense, he could potentially become an All-Star second baseman if they were to move him over there permanently.
As long as the rest of the line-up is decent, you don’t need a powerful first baseman. Right now the Twins have seven guys (including Arraez) who have 200 or more plate appearances and a 100 or greater OPS+. Correa has turned it around since starting the season cold, Buxton is hitting for a ton of power, and in front of both of them, you have a guy leading the league in BA and OBP.
What happened to Oscar Mercado? He was very impressive in his rookie season (2019) with Cleveland but he seemed to have lost it almost overnight. Glad to see him get another chance but I’m not sure if he can come back to form after 3 years of bad play in MLB. Best of luck to him!
Mercado seems like he was greatly helped by the juiced ball. Even with a .761 OPS, he had a 96 OPS+. Maybe he can figure it out as a platoon/4th outfielder. He still had a .817 OPS vs LHP’s last season.