Thursday, February 22, 2024

Phillies righty Zach Eflin to undergo season-ending knee surgery

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The Phillies come into Wednesday only 2 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East, though they’ll have to make their late-season postseason push without one of their top starters. Righty Zach Eflin will have season-ending surgery on his right patella tendon, the Phillies have announced Wednesday. The estimated recovery time is 6-8 months.

Eflin, 27, has not appeared in a game since July 16, though the Phillies held out hope he would be able to return down the stretch. His ongoing knee problems contributed to the team’s decision to acquire Kyle Gibson at the trade deadline. Eflin had settled in as a quality No. 3 starter behind Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola the last two years.

Zach Eflin

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Prior to the injury Eflin pitched to a 4.17 ERA in 18 starts and 105 2/3 innings this season. Last year he threw 59 innings with a 3.97 ERA. Philadelphia will lean on Gibson, Nola, and Wheeler to lead their rotation these final three weeks, with Ranger Suárez and Matt Moore each taking turns at the back of the rotation.

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The 6-8 month recovery timetable suggests Eflin could miss at least part of spring training next year, and he may not be able to rejoin the Phillies until after the 2022 regular season begins. Gibson, Nola, and Wheeler are all under contract next year, so the Phillies may need to find a stopgap option until Eflin returns.

The Phillies have won eight of their last 11 games to improve to 71-67 on the season. Starting Thursday, Philadelphia will play 14 of their next 17 games against the rebuilding Cubs, Orioles, Pirates, and Rockies.

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