Aaron Nola Might Not Need Another Rehab Start; Howie Kendrick to Test Oblique

Aaron Nola's back felt "totally fine" after Wednesday's rehab start with Lehigh Valley and the Phillies are in the process of deciding whether he needs another or if his next start will be with the Phils.

"He felt good. Four clean innings, 52 pitches, good pitch efficiency," Klentak said Thursday. "The only thing we have to still talk about is whether his next start is here or he gets one more in Triple A. Don't be surprised if it's one more in Triple A. I'm gonna have that conversation with him. He felt great today.

"Obviously that decision is made with both the short- and long-term in mind, so don't be surprised if he does have one more Triple A outing."

Nola has been out since April 24 with a back strain. He's missed three turns through the rotation.

Through three starts, Nola is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA. His velocity was up in his first two starts from where it was last summer, which was a good sign that his elbow had healed well.

"Aaron's important. We've seen Aaron at his best and when he's at his best, he's pretty darn good," Klentak said. "He rivals the top of anybody's rotation. He's also had his share of bumps and bruises that we need to work through, but we are committed to getting Aaron back to front our rotation."

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Kendrick update
Howie Kendrick will take some swings and groundballs this weekend in D.C. as he nears a return from an oblique strain. He's been out since April 15.

"You'll see him running around this week," Klentak said. "How he fares with all those things will dictate when he goes on his rehab assignment."

With Kendrick out, Aaron Altherr has seized an everyday job by leading the majors with 15 RBIs in May. When Kendrick returns, he could be used all over the diamond - first base, second base, third base and the corner outfield.

If Tommy Joseph is still hot when Kendrick returns, Altherr could shift to right field with Kendrick in left and Michael Saunders on the bench.

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