PHILADELPHIA -- Jerad Eickhoff was in a full Phillies uniform throwing off the mound at Citizens Bank Park mound Saturday afternoon.It was just a simulated game for the right-hander, but it was still a step in the right direction for Eickhoff. The 28-year-old has missed nearly the whole season with
PHILADELPHIA -- Jerad Eickhoff was in a full Phillies uniform throwing off the mound at Citizens Bank Park mound Saturday afternoon.
It was just a simulated game for the right-hander, but it was still a step in the right direction for Eickhoff. The 28-year-old has missed nearly the whole season with injury and was activated off the disabled list earlier this month.
Eickhoff threw one inning of relief out of the Phillies' bullpen on Sept. 8 against the Mets, giving up three hits and one run while striking out two batters. The Phillies do not have immediate plans to get Eickhoff a start in the season's final two weeks, manager Gabe Kapler said, but they did want to get him some more work.
And Kapler liked what he saw from Eickhoff in his three simulated innings.
"Really good curveball, looked sharp. Got some good swings-and-misses, too," Kapler said. "One of the things I think that's really important for Eickhoff, especially when his stuff is building back up, is to use it on the inside part of the plate and off the plate, and he showed that today. Obviously it's just a simulated game, but it's really nice to see him attack hitters like he did."
Eickhoff began the season on the disabled list with a lat strain and also dealt with a nerve issue in the fingers on his right hand before he was able to make six Minor League rehab starts in August.
The Phillies will likely use Eickhoff out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season. However, they could turn to Eickhoff -- who had a 3.87 ERA in 65 starts during his first three seasons -- if they need a starter in the next 15 days.
"We have a lot of pitching. We have a lot of depth, and we have a lot of bullets to fire out of the bullpen," Kapler said. "We have plenty of length. So a lot of this is kind of balancing how we're going to win tonight's game with getting everybody their looks, their reps and their work."
Franco remains out of lineup
Third baseman Maikel Franco was out of the Phillies starting lineup for the third straight game Saturday. Franco is still dealing with a sore right shoulder after he fell into a camera well while trying to make a catch Tuesday. Kapler said Franco will probably be used as a pinch-hitter before he returns to the starting lineup.
Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia.