Sixto Sanchez is about to begin making up for lost time.
Sanchez, a top Phillies prospect, has been throwing live batting practice in Clearwater, Fla. — and "feeling great," according to general manager Matt Klentak — in his attempt to return from inflammation in his right elbow. And while the minor-league season will be over before Sanchez is ready to pitch in a game, Klentak said the Phillies might send him to the Arizona Fall League.
"We haven't decided that yet, but we're considering it," Klentak said. "Those conversations are ongoing now. We've been talking about Sixto."
Sanchez, 20, hasn't pitched since June 3. He posted a 2.51 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings over eight starts for high-A Clearwater.
If Sanchez is assigned to pitch in the Fall League, an annual showcase for many of baseball's top prospects, he would likely go there after pitching for the Phillies' team in the Florida instructional league.
After pitching six scoreless innings Sunday in a rehab start for triple-A Lehigh Valley, righthander Jerad Eickhoff is set to join the Phillies on Saturday once rosters expand. Eickhoff has spent the entire season on the disabled list with various injuries, most recently a nerve issue in his fingers.
Manager Gabe Kapler said Eickhoff will be used in multiple-inning situations out of the bullpen with the possibility of making a spot start.
"We're very optimistic in large part because he's very optimistic," Kapler said. "He goes out and throws six innings, comes out of it feeling like that was a good outing, not really mentioning anything physically but more starting to think about how his curveball was acting in and out of the zone. That's an indication that we have reason to be optimistic about him contributing in a major way in September."
Klentak said the Phillies will have two waves of September call-ups. The first will arrive Saturday; the second will join the team once Lehigh Valley completes its run in the International League playoffs.
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez, the Phillies' leadoff hitter all season, batted third for the first time since July 22, 2015. Kapler explained that he wanted another high on-base hitter in front of cleanup hitter Wilson Ramos. … In what Klentak described as a move to help add talent to the farm system, the Phillies acquired international slot money from the Baltimore Orioles for minor-league first baseman Jack Zoellner, a ninth-round pick last year who was batting .236 with seven homers and 42 strikeouts in 161 at-bats in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. … Utility infielder Pedro Florimon (broken right foot) had his minor-league rehab assignment transferred to triple-A Lehigh Valley. He's 9-for-41 with one homer in 12 games between three levels of the minors. … Lefty reliever Austin Davis (back) began a minor-league rehab assignment at Lehigh Valley.