Phillies pitcher Jerad Eickhoff suffers yet another rehab setback

The Phillies will now have to wait even longer for Jerad Eickhoff to return as he reportedly suffered another setback while rehabbing in Clearwater.

Jerad Eickhoff has already missed more than half of the Phillies season due to injury and it appears he will miss much longer. The righty felt numbness in his fingers during a live batting practice session in Clearwater Friday. He will return to Philadelphia and be evaluated.

Eickhoff started the year off on the disabled list with a lat strain that was only supposed to keep him out 6-8 weeks. During a rehab start in May, Eickhoff felt twinges in his fingers and had to be shut down again. Now he will have to stop throwing again, which will only push his return farther back.

This issue traces back to last season as Eickhoff missed the final month of the year with a similar finger injury. With the All-Star Break coming up and the issue still plaguing him, there’s no telling if or when he will return this year.

Eickhoff was viewed as a key cog in a budding rotation after being acquired from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade. In his first 41 career starts in 2015 and 2016, he had a 3.44 ERA, 216 strikeouts, 55 walks, and a 1.14 WHIP in 248.1 innings. There was a chance he could start Opening Day last year, but former manager Pete Mackanin gave the honor to Jeremy Hellickson for the second day in a row.

2017 ultimately wound up being a disappointing season for Eickhoff as the injuries took their toll. His ERA jumped from 3.65 to 4.71 and his walk rate rose from 5.2 to 9.2 percent from 2016 to 2017. The hope was that he could bounce back this year when healthy, but injuries have only continued to hurt him.

Thankfully, Eickhoff’s absence hasn’t impacted the rotation much. The addition of Jake Arrieta and improved performances from Vince Velasquez, Zach Eflin, and Nick Pivetta have made up for it and then some.

At this point, there’s no telling when Eickhoff will return to the rotation. The team should not and likely will not rush him back with the strong rotation they have going.