Eickhoff exits start with nerve irritation in hand

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“Yeah, I’m concerned because it came out of the blue,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “We had no indication. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Eickhoff, who allowed six hits and six runs in two-plus innings in the 9-1 loss, has said in recent weeks that he is healthy, despite a noticeable drop in fastball velocity. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and Mackanin said the same.

“As far as I know it is,” Mackanin said, asked if Eickhoff had felt any tingling previously. “He wasn’t on the [injury] reports. I think it’s the first time he felt it.”

Eickhoff’s four-seam fastball averaged 91.5 mph the past two seasons, but just 90.4 mph entering Wednesday’s start. The drop has been more severe in recent weeks. It averaged just 89.4 mph in his first five starts this month.

It averaged just 88 mph on Wednesday.

“We looked at it,” Mackanin said about Eickhoff’s velocity. “But he said he felt fine. Then all of a sudden he mentioned it. I don’t know if and when he did it. It just came out of nowhere.

Eickhoff flashes leather

“We’ve seen it before where his velocity wasn’t where we’d like it to be and wondered. We had all of our conversations of, ‘What do you think it is?’ Too many weights, whatever it might be. We don’t know.”

Eickhoff almost certainly knew he could not get his fastball past the Braves on Wednesday. He threw 44 pitches, and only 14 of them were four-seamers. Sixteen of them (36.4 percent) were sliders. He had thrown his slider just 16.6 percent of the time this season.

It seems certain Eickhoff will miss at least his next start. The Phillies have only a few healthy options on the 40-man roster: right-handers Drew Anderson, Elniery Garcia and Jake Thompson. They also could add a pitcher to the 40-man, if needed. Do the Phillies have enough pitching to get through the rest of the season?

“We’ll figure it out,” Mackanin said.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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