Phillies’ starting pitcher Zach Eflin is likely finished for the year following his breakthrough COVID-19 test according to manager Joe Girardi on Sunday.
Eflin was recovering from a bout of knee tendinitis and was slated to start for the Phillies on Thursday before the injury flared back up. Prior to that scheduled start, Eflin made one rehab appearance where he threw 2.1 IP for AA Reading.
Where Do the Phillies Go From Here?
This week has been an absolute nightmare for the Phillies. In addition to the Eflin situation, Rhys Hoskins is done for the year, J.T. Realmuto is dealing with some shoulder issues, and the Phillies just lost multiple players to breakthrough COVID cases.
Losing Eflin, however, is a devastating loss in and of itself. Eflin was looked upon to be the much-needed reinforcement the Phillies‘ rotation needed ahead of a potential playoff push. With Eflin and Hoskins’ injuries, it is time to put any remaining playoff hopes aside for the Phillies.
More than that, however, losing Eflin further capitalizes one of the largest blunders in the Phillies’ organization this year:
First, I would just like to start by saying that while Joe Girardi holds the lineup card, this is not SOLELY his fault. Mismanaging injuries at such a scale as the Phillies goes beyond the manager to medical staff and into the front office.
There have been multiple points this season where the Phillies have had players on the roster who are not healthy. On any given night, Girardi has several arms in the bullpen that he is unable to use due to load management.
Not to mention the Hoskins and Eflin situations. In Eflin’s case, it was advisable to give Eflin another rehab start to work his way back up to strength before returning to Philadelphia. Instead, he was rushed back because the team needed him, and now they do not have him indefinitely.
The same thing occured in Hoskins’ case. Two games into returning for the Phillies, Hoskins reaggravated his groin injury on a relatively routine diving play.
While depth at the Major League level is minimal, you have to allow your players to fully recover from injuries lest you reaggravate them in the process.
Unfortunately, the Phillies are learning that lesson by example and will be sitting on the couch in October because of it.
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