CLEARWATER, Fla. - Right out of the gate, two Phillies starting pitchers are dealing with health issues.
Jake Arrieta had surgery to address a cartilage issue in his left knee last month and Jerad Eickhoff is once again feeling symptoms of a problem he thought he had fixed with offseason surgery.
Manager Gabe Kapler revealed the news on both pitchers after the team's first official workout for pitchers and catchers Wednesday.
Kapler stressed that Arrieta's issue was "small" and that the right-hander is on track open the season on time.
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"It was just a meniscus cleanup," Kapler said. "There were no structural issues. He's already been off the mound a couple of times. We're just going to be smart about his running and cutting progression."
Eickhoff had surgery to address carpal tunnel syndrome in October. Kapler said he experienced more symptoms in January. Eickhoff has seen doctors and, as of now, is not a candidate for more surgery, according to Kapler. Eickhoff will throw in the bullpen in about a week and the Phillies will evaluate him then. The 28-year-old right-hander was the Phillies' top starter in 2016. He has been plagued by the issue the last two seasons.
According to Kapler, Arrieta experienced some discomfort in his knee while working out last month.
Arrieta, who turns 33 in three weeks, is entering the second season of a three-year, $75 million contract. He went 10-11 with a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts last season. He struggled down the stretch, going 1-5 with a 6.35 ERA over his final nine starts.
News of the pitchers' health issues once again illustrate the fragility of big-league pitching and the importance of having depth. The Phillies tried to add a starting pitcher earlier this winter but their offers were rejected by Patrick Corbin and J.A Happ. The Phillies are believed to still be interested in adding a starter and could try to sign someone like Dallas Keuchel in the coming weeks. Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young winner, is a free agent.
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