One day after complaining of being unable to get loose — and putting up results that were as lousy as he felt — Phillies righthander Ben Lively has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a low back strain, the team announced Friday.
Righthander Jake Thompson was called up from triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Lively's spot on the roster, though not in the starting rotation. Manager Gabe Kapler said the Phillies are sorting through other internal and triple-A options to start Tuesday night at the Miami Marlins.
"Everything's still on the table," Kapler said.
Lively, who earned his spot in the rotation in part because righthander Jerad Eickhoff began the season on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle, has been the Phillies' worst starter through the season's first few weeks. In five starts, he is 0-2 with a 6.85 ERA and has allowed 34 hits and 10 walks in 23 2/3 innings.
Neither the Phillies nor Lively are certain how his back stiffened. Lively said he doesn't feel pain, although the tightness did intensify throughout his start. Lively made Kapler, pitching coach Rick Kranitz and the training staff aware of the problem after the third inning.
"I was watching his velocity very carefully, I was watching the carry on his pitches very carefully, I was watching how he was finishing his delivery, and all those things looked pretty good," Kapler said. "He looked like Ben Lively looks generally, although he wasn't as good with his fastball command and the ball wasn't coming out with quite as much length. But nothing to make us think, 'Oh no, there's something dramatically wrong here.'"
Lively is optimistic he will be able to return after the minimum 10-day DL term. Meantime, the Phillies have a few options to start Tuesday night. Among them: righthander Drew Hutchinson, a long reliever who has made 74 career starts in the big leagues.
Thompson, who can provide multiple innings out of the bullpen, has a 7.20 ERA in two relief appearances for the Phillies this season. He's 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in three starts for Lehigh Valley.
Eickhoff is scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment next week with the intention of rejoining the rotation, general manager Matt Klentak said this week. The Phillies hope Eickhoff will be ready to return next month.