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Jerad Eickhoff exited Wednesday’s start with nerve irritation in his hand

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Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff didn’t last long in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Braves. The right-hander gave up six runs on six hits and a walk with one strikeout in two innings. Beyond the poor performance, it was unclear at the time if he exited early for any other reason, but now we know. According to Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal, Eickhoff was bothered by nerve irritation in his right hand. He’ll undergo testing over the next few days to determine where to go from here.

Wednesday’s performance brought Eickhoff’s ERA up to 4.71. He’s also carrying a 118/53 K/BB ratio in 128 innings.

Since the rebuilding Phillies’ postseason hopes were long ago dashed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the club decides to shut Eickhoff down for the rest of the season to play it safe.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.