Phillies Spring Training: Zach Eflin’s Knees Feel Much Better Post-Surgery

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Jun 19, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin (56) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin (56) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin underwent knee surgery last offseason and he says he can definitely notice a difference this spring.

For most of his life, Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin felt soreness in his knees.

He told Meghan Montemurro of The Delaware News Journal, “it was almost like a cramping feeling, just walking around and stuff. I couldn’t really get down, pretty painful.” Montemurro said that “If he [Eflin] had a tough workout or lengthy bullpen session one day, he’d always wake up in pain the next.”

Eflin split 2016 between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the majors. He got off to a blistering start in Triple-A. striking out 20.9% of opposing hitters while walking just 4.2%. After making his major-league debut June 14, Eflin made 11 starts in the major-leagues with a 5.54 ERA. He registered two complete games, including a three-hit shutout of the Pirates July 22.

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He was shut down in August due to patellar tendinitis and eventually underwent surgery to repair the patellar tendons in both of his knees.

Upon returning to camp, Eflin said he can notice the difference. He told reporters the difference was “night and day.”

Eflin said, “It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve been able to walk on knees that felt good.”

Like his counterpart Aaron Nola, Eflin feels that he is “ready to go” and is “excited” for what is to come this year.

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Eflin also explained how the surgery affected his ability to pitch:

"“When I’m coming down with my leg I’m actually able to get some weight loaded up on my back half and exploded through and throw,” Eflin said. “So instead of standing like a 2×4 up out there, I actually feel like I have some leverage and am actually able to get something behind the ball.”"

While Elfin will try and pursue a job in the big-league rotation, it will be hard to get without an injury to one of the other starters.

The team’s five starters are expected to be Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vincent Velasquez, Jeremy Hellickson, and Clay Buchholz. Had the team not traded for Buchholz, a spot may have been open for Eflin.

Next: Phils Spring Training: Thompson Injures Wrist

If the surgery positively impacts Eflin as much as he says it does, he should be knocking on the door for a promotion back to the majors sooner rather than later this year.

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