Just six days after removing Jerad Eickhoff from the starting rotation, the Phillies were forced to remove him from their bullpen and place him on the injured list with right biceps tendinitis.
Eickhoff was placed on the IL after allowing two more homers in the blowout loss Sunday as he made his first relief appearance since being bumped from the rotation. He allowed 18 home runs in his last 28 innings, including seven homers in his last four innings.
The Phillies replaced Eickhoff on the roster with returning rookie Edgar Garcia from triple A, but they have yet to fill his place in the rotation. Cole Irvin, who was promoted after Eickhoff was bumped to the bullpen, is also being moved to a relief role, Kapler said.
Eickhoff’s rotation turn came up Sunday and the Phillies used Vince Velasquez to open the game, followed by Irvin and Eickhoff. The Phillies could use a combination of Velasquez and Irvin again on Friday against the Marlins, but nothing is certain. A decision, just like it did Sunday against the Braves, could depend on how the Phillies use their bullpen this week against Washington.
“The way Cole Irvin is going to be successful is by getting hitters behind in the count and forcing them to hit in those counts,” Kapler said. “Over the long haul, I think Cole in a 2-0, 3-1 count against the lineups that we saw against the Braves, not going to help him. So, what I'm seeing with Cole is a guy who has to get ahead and stay ahead and then I think can be a valuable piece in our rotation at some point.”
Kapler said Eickhoff has been managing discomfort since May 24. Since the start of May, Eickhoff has the highest home-run rate -- 3.9 per nine innings -- in the National League. Perhaps Eickhoff’s injury explains the spike in his homer rate.
“I don't think Jerad would ever want anybody to make excuses for him. I'm not planning to make any excuses for him,” Kapler said.
“I think that it’s reasonable to look at the fact that last year he didn’t have many innings under his belt. We also know that last year he had some injury concerns coming into spring training. He had some things he was dealing with. It’s possible there’s some fatigue. I’m not saying it’s the only thing going on, but it’s at least worth noting.”
J.T. Realmuto was held out of the lineup after still being sore from being hit by a foul ball in his groin. “We want him to be feeling himself," Kapler said. "Doesn’t mean that he’s going to feel perfect by the time we put him back in the lineup, but we definitely want to be sensitive to the fact that he’s still a little bit sore.” ... Tommy Hunter pitched a rehab assignment with high-A Clearwater. ... Nick Williams was optioned to triple A to make room for Roman Quinn, who returned from the injured list. ... Zach Eflin will start Tuesday night against righthander Erick Fedde.