PHILADELPHIA -- Jerad Eickhoff is the latest starter to be removed from the Phillies’ rotation.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler announced Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park that Eickhoff will move to the bullpen after struggling again Monday night in a loss to the D-backs. Eickhoff allowed five home runs in three-plus innings in a game that featured a Major League-record 13 home runs. He is 1-3 with an 8.89 ERA in his last six starts, allowing 16 home runs in 27 1/3 innings.
“Obviously frustrated, but in the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t getting the job done,” Eickhoff said.
Eickhoff said for two of those six starts, specifically the two against Milwaukee on May 14 and May 24, he had been tipping his pitches. But he also struggled in the others. He said he wasn't able to make the proper mechanical adjustments with his pitches coming flat into the strike zone.
Kapler said the Phillies have not decided who will take Eickhoff’s place in the rotation for Sunday's game against the Braves in Atlanta. It could be right-hander Vince Velasquez, although Kapler indicated they might want to keep him in the bullpen. It could be left-hander Ranger Suárez. It could be Triple-A left-hander Cole Irvin.
Kapler also did not rule out the possibility of using an opener.
It remains to be seen what happens after Sunday, and whether the Phillies will stick with one pitcher.
“I don’t think there are many teams that have a fifth starter that is so dependable that it’s never in question,” Kapler said. “I don’t think that what we’re dealing with is any different than what a lot of clubs are dealing with, which is trying to get a very capable starter on track and consistent.”
Charlie makes a comeback
Jim Thome will manage the American League team for the 2019 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 7 at Progressive Field. He will have former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel as his bench coach. Manuel and Thome remain close after spending years together in Cleveland, then with the Phillies.
“I’ll probably try to manage,” Manuel said. “I’ll probably get mad if he doesn’t do what I tell him to do.”
Quinn is close
Outfielder Roman Quinn (strained right groin) will make his second rehab appearance Tuesday with Class A Clearwater. He could be activated from the 10-day injured list in the next few days.
“I don’t think we’re far away,” Kapler said.
Quinn presumably will see semi-regular action in center field, which would allow Scott Kingery to play more regularly at third base.
Kapler said the team considered activating right-hander Edubray Ramos (right biceps tendinitis) for Tuesday’s game, but he made a rehab appearance Monday. They prefer to activate him with at least one day of rest. Right-hander Pat Neshek (strained right shoulder) and left-hander Adam Morgan (strained left forearm) could be close to rejoining the bullpen, too.