Phillies Not Confident in Aaron Nola’s Health After Buchholz Trade?

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Aug 12, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola reacts in the dugout in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola reacts in the dugout in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies GM Matt Klentak rolled the dice again today by acquiring SP Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox. Klentak said today the team plans to use Buchholz as a starting pitcher, despite being used mainly out of the bullpen with the Red Sox last season. This move says a lot about the team’s confidence in Aaron Nola’s health and when he will be ready to pitch again.

Yesterday’s trade for Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz is exactly the type of deal Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has been looking to make ever since he’s taken over. This trade follows the mold of past moves, hoping for success in the first half of the season and then flipping Buccholz at the trade deadline to a playoff contender for a higher value.

The Phillies had three spots of the starting rotation locked up before today with Jeremy Hellickson, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez already penciled into Pete Mackanin’s starting rotation to start the year. If healthy, Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin would likely be the final two starters in the rotation, with guys like Jake Thompson and Ben Lively the first in line to receive promotions from Triple-A.

With the acquisition of Buchholz Tuesday, the Phillies now have four rotation spots locked up, leaving just one left. If healthy, that spot would likely go to Nola. But this recent move triggers speculation as to whether or not the team is fully confident that Nola will be ready to go at the start of the 2017 season.

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Nola started off the season on a high note, as he was dominant for the first two months of the season and looked like a potential All-Star candidate. However, the wheels fell off for Nola in the month of June as he had an ERA over 10.00 in his five starts during that month.

The second-year pitcher was never the same, and he was never able to find his groove during the remainder of his season.

Many fans were wondering if there was a lingering injury Nola was trying to pitch through, and it was revealed later that he had “low-grade” ligament and tendon strains in his pitching arm.

Nola received a platelet-rich plasma injection after a recommendation from Dr. James Andrews, and it’s been a waiting game ever since. Phillies officials and management have been hopeful that Nola would be ready to go in spring training and see if he was healthy enough to start the season.

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The Phillies now appear to be concerned that Nola will not be healthy by the start of the season, especially with the acquisition of Buchholz.

The team will be in no rush to get Nola back. Klentak and management will make sure he is fully healthy before he returns.

Phillies fans will continue to remain hopeful that the player they saw in the first two months of the 2016 season will be the Aaron Nola that will lead the rotation for years to come.

Next: Philadelphia Has a Process to Trust w/ Klentak

For now, veterans like Buchholz and Hellickson will head the rotation until Nola is healthy.

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