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Phillies move Zach Eflin to bullpen

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Phillies starter Zach Eflin has been taken out of the starting rotation and moved to the bullpen, at least temporarily, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. This comes on the heels of the Phillies’ acquisition of starter Jason Vargas from the Mets.

Eflin, 25, got off to a terrific start to the season, carrying a 2.83 ERA through his first 14 starts. Over his last six starts, however, he has given up 36 runs (31 earned) on 47 hits and nine walks with 19 strikeouts spanning 26 2/3 innings.

Neither the Phillies’ rotation nor the bullpen has been reliable this season, but the rotation is a bit easier for the club to patch than the bullpen. The bullpen is currently operating without David Robertson, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Seranthony Domínguez, Vìctor Arano, and Edubray Ramos.

Eflin, to his credit, was realistic about his demotion. He said, “If I don’t like it, I should pitch better. I hadn’t really been doing my job. Going to the bullpen is another opportunity for me. It’s a challenge. I’m a fan of challenges. Go down there and be the best version of myself I can be.” He added, “I still believe wholeheartedly that I’m a starter.”

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.