MIAMI — Jerad Eickhoff's frustrating season ended Saturday when the Phillies placed him on the 60-day disabled list after he had an MRI on Friday in Philadelphia to determine the cause of numbness in his throwing hand.
The MRI, manager Pete Mackanin said, came back "pretty clean." Eickhoff left his start Aug. 30 after just two innings. The Phillies diagnosed nerve irritation, and Eickhoff said he felt tingling in his right hand. Mackanin said that there was nothing to be overly concerned about and that Eickhoff would use the rest of the month to rest.
"We did it with Nola last year and backed off on him. Then he came back in a blaze of glory," Mackanin said. "He's been a different guy since. Sometimes that's what happens. You have to back off of a guy, especially a younger guy. A first-, second-year pitcher takes some time."
Eickhoff finished the season with a 4.71 ERA in 24 starts and threw just 128 innings, nearly 70 fewer than last year. He made two trips to the disabled list and seemed to regress after a promising 2016 season. His place in next year's starting rotation was once firm, but now that appears at least uncertain.
"He's a candidate," Mackanin said. "I'd like to think that he's going to be in the rotation because he was so solid for us last year. He's definitely a top candidate for the rotation."
Jake Thompson will start for Eickhoff on Sunday, and the team filled Eickhoff's place on the 40-man roster by claiming lefthanded reliever Kevin Siegrist off waivers from St. Louis.
The 28-year-old Siegrist was designated for assignment Thursday after posting a 4.98 ERA this season in 34 1/3 innings. He was on the disabled list earlier this month with tendinitis in his left forearm and missed time earlier in the summer with a cervical spine sprain. If healthy, Siegrist may have some value. He has a 2.95 ERA over the last three years and cannot become a free agent until after the 2019 season.
"We've liked him as an organization over the last few years, having watched him pitch," Mackanin said. "He's had quite a bit of success, and I'm glad we got a chance to look at him."
Siegrist joined the Phillies shortly before batting practice, marking the second straight day that a reliever acquired through waivers joined the team. Juan Nicasio joined the Phillies an hour before Friday's first pitch after being claimed from Pittsburgh. He threw three pitches in the eighth inning and was the winning pitcher in a 2-1 victory.
The Pirates expected to move Nicasio to a playoff contender when they placed him on trade waivers this past week. The contender that claimed them — a direct competitor, according to their general manager — was unwilling to give them much in return. They instead outrighted Nicasio, and the Phillies had the first option to claim him. Nicasio, who will become a free agent after the season, said he was not disappointed to find himself out of the playoff race.