PHILADELPHIA– The Phillies’ goal for a .500 season will depend on the health of two injured but promising young pitchers.
When Phillies alum and guest instructor for 2017 spring training, Larry Andersen, was asked if the Phillies could have a .500 season he said, “it’s going to come down to these young pitchers, if they can improve with the experience they got last year.”
Pitcher Aaron Nola, 23, rocked the start of the 2016 season, but a sprained elbow ligament halted his progress. Nola was benched for the rest of the season. The right-handed rookie, known for his curveball, is expected to be fully recovered for the season.
Zach Eflin impressed fans when he pitched two complete games last July, but his season ended prematurely for corrective surgery on both of his knees. Like Nola, Eflin is also a right-handed newbie pitcher, but he has had his knee pain since childhood. After the start of last season, the Phillies are anxious to see what he can do when pain-free.
Although both players are expected to be fully recovered, doubt remains until their spring training debut.
Phillies broadcaster Scott Franzke said, “A lot rides on Nola and Eflin, in terms of the overall development of the rotation. To see whether or not they’re healthy. I know they say they are”.
If the Phillies keep healthy pitchers this season, a .500 season could be within reach.