Pat Neshek, out all season with injuries to his shoulder and forearm, may finally be on the road to returning to the Phillies.
Neshek will throw a bullpen session Thursday and use all of his pitches. If all goes according to plan, he will then head down to Florida to throw live batting practice.
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The Phillies will be protective of Neshek, so even though this represents progress, he's still a ways away.
The Phillies have missed him in the bullpen. Neshek was signed to a two-year, $16.25 million contract after an All-Star season in 2017 with the Phillies and Rockies.
The Phils brought him back on a multi-year deal because of his lengthy track record (2.50 ERA since 2012) and the unusual look he presents out of the 'pen.
The Phillies are stocked in the bullpen with right-handed relievers who throw 95-plus. Neshek pitches from a submarine angle and does a great job of disrupting a hitter's timing with his unusual delivery and the difference in velocity. It's an approach that makes him not just an effective reliever but one who can succeed against the top power hitters in the league.
"It's huge," Kapler said. "Pat and I had a long conversation during batting practice yesterday that an unusual physical look throws timing and rhythm of opposing hitters off.
"We have a lot of guys who come in and there's 97 (mph), there's 98 ... a lot of guys who are going to run it up there high and bust it by you. But then you add this dude who's herky-jerky and the ball's sinking and running up."
• After Thoracic Outlet Syndrome was ruled out, Jerad Eickhoff received a cortisone shot in his right wrist Monday. The plan is for him to throw tomorrow as well. If that goes well, Eickhoff will begin a throwing progression of his own. The Phillies won't rush him and don't need to with Zach Eflin pitching well as the fifth starter.
• Dylan Cozens (strained left quad) will head to Florida this weekend when the Phillies travel to Milwaukee and his rehab will begin with some base running.