Aaron Nola was practically perfect in his second rehab start for the Phillies Triple-A squad
Injuries to his elbow and back have dampened the career of Phillies starter Aaron Nola, but another rehab start brought the righty back to life.
Recovering from a back strain, Nola made his second appearance for Lehigh Valley on Monday night.
In six and a-third innings, the first round pick out of LSU struck out seven batters while allowing two hits and a walk. Nola also picked-off a baserunner in his 79-pitch outing, throwing 54 of his pitches for strikes in the ‘Pigs 1-0 win.
Shortstop J.P. Crawford hit his first home run of the season in the win, while Roman Quinn and Dylan Cozens combined for three hits. Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, and Jorge Alfaro were all hitless with multiple strikeouts each.
Lehigh Valley’s bullpen was perfect through 2 and two-third innings, with great efforts from veterans Pat Venditte, Pedro Beato, and Casey Fien.
Monday’s performance comes on the heels of Nola pitching four innings last week, giving up just one run on four hits and three punchouts.
Depending on how his back responds in the next couple of days, the Phillies are likely to bring Nola back into the major league rotation as early as Friday.
Nick Pivetta, who’s currently scheduled to start on Friday against Texas, took Nola’s spot in late-April, will likely be returned to Triple-A.
Acquired from the Nationals in exchange for closer Jonathan Papelbon, Pivetta continues to seek his first major league win should he start his fourth game of the year this week. He’s struck out 16 batters over 14.2 innings after dealing with rookie jitters in his first start.
Zach Eflin, who assumed Clay Buchholz’s spot in the rotation, will likely remain over Pivetta.
Phillies fans should still have hope for Pivetta despite the rocky start to his career. He flashed signs of improvement in recent starts, and barring more injuries, will get an opportunity to lead the IronPigs rotation.
Jerad Eickhoff will get the start for Philadelphia when they face his former team, the Rangers, in Arlington Tuesday evening.