Phillies Place Aaron Nola on Disabled List with Lower Back Strain

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Apr 20, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) pitches against the New York Mets during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 20, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) pitches against the New York Mets during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Phillies have placed Aaron Nola on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain retroactive to April 21. Ty Kelly will be added to the roster.

Just a couple weeks into the season two pitchers from the Phillies Opening Day rotation are on the disabled list. First, it was Clay Buchholz, who underwent arm surgery and is now on the 60-day DL. Now, it is Aaron Nola who is on the shelf.

The team placed Nola on the disabled list Monday with a lower back strain. The move is retroactive to his last start, which came on April 21. This means he will not be eligible to return until early next week.

General manager Matt Klentak said Nola’s lower back felt sore during his last start. Nola went five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits to the Mets. Nola has a 4.50 ERA in 16 innings this year with a 1.63 WHIP and 21.7% strikeout rate.

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Klentak believes Nola’s stint on the DL will not be long, saying he should just miss “one or two” starts: [quote via Matt Breen of Philly.com]

"“After receiving treatment over the last few days, the symptoms improved, but he still felt some tightness during his side session yesterday,” Klentak said.  “Our hope and expectation is that this will not be a lengthy DL placement and that Aaron will miss only one or two starts.”"

The silver lining here is that Nola’s elbow seems to be okay. Nola missed the last two months of the 2016 season with an elbow strain and questions about his health persisted into this season. While any injury is definitely a negative, at least it’s not his elbow causing the DL stint.

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Nola’s next start was slated for Wednesday, and that spot is now open. The name most people are pointing to as Nola’s replacement is Nick Pivetta. The righty’s last start came on the same day as Nola’s, so it would make sense for him to be promoted.

Pivetta, whom the Phils acquired in 2015 in the Jonathon Papelbon trade, has been dominant in his first three starts at Triple-A this year. He has a 0.95 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, and 33.3% strikeout rate. In his most recent start Thursday, Pivetta struck out 11 in six innings while giving up just one run.

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Nola’s injury provides the opportunity for the team to add Ty Kelly to the roster after trading for him to replace Howie Kendrick, who just went on the disabled list. If they do that, they will have to demote someone else to bring up Wednesday’s starter.

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