PHILADELPHIA -- Jake Arrieta’s season is almost certainly finished, which means one more strain on the Phillies’ pitching staff.
He said Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park that he expects to have surgery in the coming weeks to remove a bone spur in his right elbow, plus any other potential loose bodies that might show up in tests on Thursday. Arrieta said the procedure means he will “probably miss the remainder of the season. But there’s no doubt that I’ll have a completely offseason going into next year.”
Arrieta is 8-8 with a 4.64 ERA in 24 starts, but pitching with the spur became more difficult for him. The final straw came Sunday in San Francisco, where he allowed seven hits and five runs in three innings. He has been placed on the 10-day injured list.
“It was genuinely a heroic effort in a lot of ways,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.
Kapler said right-hander Zach Eflin (7-11, 4.49 ERA) will start in Arrieta’s place on Saturday night against the Padres. The team added first baseman Logan Morrison from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to fill Arrieta’s spot on the 25-man roster. He will help off the bench while Corey Dickerson nurses a bruised left hand. The Phillies also placed right-hander Jerad Eickhoff on the 60-day IL to make room for Morrison on the 40-man roster.
“I wanted to try and make it work for as long as possible, while I could remain effective and help the team,” Arrieta said. “I think after my start in San Francisco I realized that I'm not able to give the team what it needs. I'm confident and we're confident that we have options that can contribute to a further level than I was able to. The pain is something I can deal with, but it's the loss of feel and the ineffectiveness as the outings wear on. I think that the time is right to make it happen now and get a guy in the rotation that has pitched really well for us and give him an opportunity to get back to the form where he was at earlier in the season for us. I think we'll be in good hands.”
Arrieta had surgery to remove a bone spur in 2011. He said that experience has him confident that he will return to form next season. Arrieta, the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner, signed a three-year, $75 million contract before the '18 season. He can exercise an opt-out clause in his contract, but he said that is “probably not going to happen.” He is guaranteed $20 million next season, if he does not exercise the clause.
“Still want to be here, though,” the 33-year-old said. “I can tell you that.
“I mean, without this bone spur I'm going to be able to use everything effectively. I've been doing this for a long time. I know what I need to do to execute certain pitches. I'm physically limited at this point. I don't have the ability to do those things. With some more space in the elbow, without that distraction in there, I'm going to be pretty good.”
Hoskins hits first
Rhys Hoskins hit leadoff Wednesday night for the first time in his career.
“It’s a relaxation technique,” Kapler said. “One of the things that we stress is kind of being loose and relaxed. What does Rhys do most naturally? Probably see pitches, work pitchers, have good at-bats. So even when his at-bats haven’t ended in a homer or a double or a base hit or a walk, he tends to work the pitcher, so putting him in a position to do what he does most naturally was a part of this.”