Nerve irritation in hand to put Eickhoff on DL

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“I felt tingling in my hand,” Eickhoff said. “Almost like numbness or weakness in it. I just couldn’t exactly feel the baseball. That’s never a good thing. It’s something going on with a nerve, maybe. Where, exactly, I’m not sure. It’s definitely a nerve issue. The strength in my shoulder is fine.”

Eickhoff, who allowed six run on six hits 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.

“He wasn’t on the [injury] reports,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

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 in August.

It averaged just 88 mph on Wednesday.

“There were a couple of pitches when I looked up there, it was 86, 87,” Eickhoff said. “That’s not normal.”

“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.

“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 threw 44 pitches, but only 14 of them were four-seam fastballs, while sixteen (36.4 percent) were sliders. He had thrown his slider just 16.6 percent of the time this season.

The Phillies have only a few healthy options on the 40-man roster: right-handers Drew Anderson and Jake Thompson and left-hander Elniery Garcia. They also could add a pitcher to the 40-man.

Do the Phillies have enough pitching to get through the rest of the season?

“This is what we have, and we have to make the most of it,” Mackanin said. “We have a lot of young pitchers who are finding their way. They’re feeling their way through the big leagues, and they’re taking their lumps. They’re learning what it takes to pitch at this level. All we can do is run them out there and keep coaching them and telling them what they need to hear and go from there. It’s the only way we can approach it.”

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for 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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