Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff will miss the next six to eight weeks with a strained right lat. Manager Gabe Kapler said the right-hander suffered the injury with one of his final pitches during his most recent Grapefruit League start.
Eickhoff, who suffered a similar injury last year, went 4-8 with a 4.71 ERA and a 118/53 K/BB ratio in 128 innings during the 2017 season.
Salisbury notes that the Phillies are likely to fill Eickhoff’s spot in the rotation internally. With free agent Alex Cobb still available, GM Matt Klentak said on Monday that the Phillies’ moves were likely complete. Following news of Eickhoff’s injury, Klentak said on Friday that the young pitchers — almost certainly referring to Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, and Mark Leiter, who are fighting for rotation spots — are stretched out and worthy of a look.
Per Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have been discussing the idea of playing the 2020 season entirely in Arizona. The state has 10 spring training parks as well as Chase Field, home to the Diamondbacks. MLB suspended the 2020 season last month as the U.S. began to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This certainly comes as no surprise as commissioner Rob Manfred has suggested the need to potentially get “creative” if MLB is to have a season. Other ideas have included running the season deep into the fall, hosting games in mostly warm-weather states, and making use of frequent doubleheaders.
For many reasons, the U.S. has not done well to date dealing with the pandemic, so it is quite optimistic to expect sports to return at any point in the near future. That being said, agent Scott Boras, who spoke to Blum, suggested baseball’s return could provide “a necessary product that gives all the people that are isolated enjoyment.” He added that that product would be “inspirational to our country.”
MLB and all of its associated interests stand to lose significant amounts of money the longer the season is delayed, which is why many are champing at the bit for the schedule to resume. Presumably, any resumption of the schedule would require that games not be played in front of fans.