3:54 PM: Well, it was a short-lived return for Eflin. The Phillies’ right-hander was scratched from his start tonight because of continued knee discomfort, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Philly (via Twitter). Manager Joe Girardi made the announcement not long after Eflin was activated from the injured list. Matt Moore will get the start tonight, and Eflin will presumably be further evaluated.
2:34 PM: The Phillies announced a series of roster moves this afternoon. Starting pitcher Zach Eflin has been activated from the 10-day injured list to start this evening’s game against the Diamondbacks. Also coming back from the 10-day IL is reliever José Alvarado. In corresponding moves, Philadelphia placed first baseman Rhys Hoskins back on the 10-day IL due to a left groin strain and designated right-hander Chase Anderson for assignment.
Eflin has missed around five weeks due to patellar tendinitis in his right knee. That halted a typically-strong campaign for the right-hander, who has a 4.17 ERA over 105 2/3 innings. Eflin doesn’t rack up huge strikeout or ground-ball totals, but he’s one of the sport’s best strike-throwers and a consistent mid-rotation presence. Eflin has posted an ERA between 3.97 and 4.36 in each of the past four seasons.
While the Phils will be thrilled to welcome Eflin back, they’re again losing Hoskins to the IL. The veteran first baseman just returned to the lineup over the weekend after missing two weeks on account of the same left groin strain. Three games later, he winds up back on the shelf. It’s an inopportune time for the Phils to lose one of their best hitters, as they enter play tonight five games back of the Braves in the National League East.
The roster shuffling almost certainly ends Anderson’s time in Philadelphia. The veteran signed a one-year, $4MM guarantee over the offseason with the hope he’d bounce back from a 2020 campaign derailed by home runs. He’s had a rough go of things for the second straight year, though, pitching to a 6.75 ERA over 48 innings between the rotation and long relief. While Anderson’s strikeout rate spiked to a career-best 24.7% last season, it has fallen to a subpar 16.3% mark this year. Anderson’s also walking batters at a career-worst 9.3% clip and he’s continued to struggle keeping the ball in the yard.
Given his lackluster 2021 results, Anderson’s a lock to pass through waivers unclaimed. He has enough service time to become a free agent while collecting the balance of his guaranteed salary. At that point, Anderson should attract interest from other clubs based on his extended pre-2020 body of work as a solid back-of-the-rotation starter.