The Phillies have reinstated starting pitcher Aaron Nola from the injured list to start this evening’s game against the Yankees. Rotation mate Zach Eflin landed on the 10-day IL with patellar tendinitis in his right knee in a corresponding move.
Nola landed on the COVID-19 IL on July 11 as a close contact of third baseman Alec Bohm, who had tested positive for the virus. (Bohm has also been cleared to rejoin the team, manager Joe Girardi told reporters — including Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer — but won’t be activated until he works himself back into game shape). That cost Nola his July 11 start, but he winds up only missing a single turn in the rotation thanks to the intervening All-Star Break.
It’s not clear precisely how long Eflin will be out, but the Phillies don’t believe his injury to be a long-term concern (according to Breen). That’s welcome news considering Eflin’s history of knee issues, which includes a season-ending 2016 surgery to repair the same patellar tendon.
The Phils can ill afford a long absence from Eflin, who’s been one of their more productive starters over the past couple seasons. The 27-year-old has a typically solid 4.17 ERA/3.79 SIERA across 105 2/3 frames this year. At 47-45, Philadelphia trails the Mets by just 2.5 games in the NL East, so a prompt return from Eflin is of critical importance.