MIAMI - Keeping Aaron Nola's innings count in the 170-180 range for his first full professional season isn't the only reason the Phillies are leaning toward using a six-man starting rotation next month.
Adam Morgan is in something of uncharted territory, as well.
The 25-year-old lefthander has logged 1252/3 innings this season between the major leagues and triple A. It's his most since 2012, when he threw 1582/3 innings between high-A and double-A ball, and he is still just 19 months removed from rotator interval closure surgery on his pitching shoulder.
Taking all that into account, though, Morgan says his arm feels good. Perhaps even surprisingly good.
"The bullpen [sessions] are better. The arm strength in between starts is bouncing back really great," he said. "So, really, I'm just taking it a day at a time. The arm's been feeling good. I hope this doesn't jinx it. But everything's going well."
Morgan, who will face the New York Mets for the first time on Monday at Citizens Bank Park, has recorded a 3.92 ERA through 10 big-league starts. He has pitched effectively despite diminished velocity compared to his presurgery days, when his fastball sat at 92-94 m.p.h.
Morgan's fastball has averaged 89.43 m.p.h. this season, according to PITCHf/x. An encouraging sign was the 90.44-m.p.h. average in his last start - an impressive seven-inning outing against the big-swinging Toronto Blue Jays - his best velocity since his June 21 big-league debut.
While he feels strong, Morgan wouldn't deem himself "back to normal." This coming fall and winter back home in Atlanta will be a valuable one for him. Between the January 2014 surgery, the ensuing rehabilitation, pitching in the Arizona Fall League, and an early arrival to spring training this year, his body hasn't experienced a typical baseball offseason in a while.
But first, he will look to build on a solid first two months with the Phillies over the season's final six weeks, however many starts that yields.
Jerad Eickhoff on Friday became only the second starter since 1920 to pitch a scoreless major-league debut in which he also drove in two runs. The other was Jason Jennings of the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 23, 2001. . . . The Phillies are slated to face Jacob deGrom (12-6, 1.98) and Noah Syndergaard (7-6, 3.17) on Monday and Tuesday in the first two games of this week's four-game series against the first-place Mets.