Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said Friday that the team does not plan to acquire a pitcher to replace injured Jerad Eickhoff and that they will rely on their young pitchers.
Here’s a look at four who could replace Eickhoff:
RHP Zach Eflin: Much has been made this spring about Eflin’s health, as he says he finally feels fully healthy after the surgeries he had on both knees at the end of the 2016 season. Eflin had dealt with knee discomfort for his entire life, leaving optimism for how he can pitch now that he’s pain-free. He pitched five shutout innings in his last start and is the favorite to take Eickhoff’s role.
RHP Ben Lively: Lively made 15 starts in the big leagues last season and is a serviceable starter but lacks the ceiling that Eflin has. He started camp with two solid starts but has allowed six runs in his last nine innings.
RHP Mark Leiter Jr.: Leiter has impressed, but the Phillies really like the idea of using him as a long reliever in their eight-man bullpen. His splitter has looked strong this spring, and his nice mix of pitches could play well in the bullpen.
RHP Tom Eshelman: Eshelman was last year’s Paul Owens Award winner as the team’s best minor-league pitcher, but his chances to start the season in the majors are limited by the fact that he is not yet on the 40-man roster. The righthander has allowed just one run in nine innings this spring. He logged 4 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out four in his last start. He’ll reach the majors this year but he will likely start the season at triple A.