Phillies Send Jerad Eickhoff to Bullpen, Ponder Next Move

One day after giving up five home runs in a 13-8 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jerad Eickhoff learned he would not make his next scheduled start Sunday in Atlanta.

"I wasn't getting the job done," the always-accountable right-hander said. "That's what I pride myself on. I had three or four starts that weren't up to my standards or theirs either."

Eickhoff was not sent to the minors because, as manager Gabe Kapler said, "We see him as one of our 13 best pitchers."

Eickhoff will work out of the bullpen.

"We told Jerad that when he's back on track he'll be a consideration in the rotation again," Kapler said.

Kapler was uncertain who would make Sunday's start. He mentioned Vince Velasquez as a possibility then seemed to back off of that because Velasquez has suddenly become important in the bullpen and "maybe the best move is letting him get settled in there."

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Left-handers Ranger Suarez and Cole Irvin are both possibilities. Prospect Adonis Medina is not. (The Phils would like to give him more development time at Double A.) Suarez was called up from the minors on Friday, replacing injured Seranthony Dominguez. Irvin is currently in Triple A.

It's also possible the Phils could use a reliever such as Jose Alvarez as an opener. They did that recently in Los Angeles.

Kapler said the Phils could have a decision by Wednesday.

The decision to send Eickhoff to the bullpen went beyond his poor outing Monday night. He has given up 16 homers and 27 runs over his last six starts.

"My ball has been a little flat, my arm is dragging a little," he said. "I need to make some adjustments. I'm always willing to do the work."

A few health checks

Reliever Edubray Ramos could be ready to come off the injured list Wednesday.

Kapler said reliever Pat Neshek is not far away from being activated. Neshek might not require a minor-league rehab outing.

"Pat is very close," Kapler said.

Center fielder Roman Quinn was slated to play nine innings for Single A Clearwater on Tuesday night. It sounds like there's a chance he could be ready to go by the weekend.

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