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Phillies’ Jerad Eickhoff out 6-8 weeks with strained lat muscle

The Phillies will be without a solid contributor in their rotation to start the season.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies will be without starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff for 6-8 weeks as a result of a strained lat muscle, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Eickhoff, 27, was set to be the Phillies number three starter behind newly acquired ace Jake Arrieta and young stud Aaron Nola. Now, he will be sidelined for roughly the first month and a half to two months of the season.

Eickhoff struggled a bit last season going just 4-8 with a 4.71 ERA in just 24 starts. It is likely that injuries played a role in his regression, as in 2015 and 2017 he combined for a 14-17 record with a solid 3.44 ERA. With his injury, it opens the door for a number of Philadelphia pitchers to open up the season in the rotation.

It is yet to be seen as to whether the Phillies would be interested in looking at the free agent market to fill the void, but that is unlikely following the acquisition of Arrieta. For now, it appears Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, and Mark Leiter are in-house candidates competing for rotation spots.