Aaron Nola could miss only one start for Phillies

Aaron Nola could miss only one start for Phillies

Aaron Nola understands his employer’s caution. He missed the final two months of last season with an elbow injury. The Phillies are invested in his future. So a sore back, which could force a pitcher to alter his mechanics and place strain on other parts of his body, was enough for the team to put him on the disabled list rather than let him pitch Wednesday night against the Marlins.

“I feel like I definitely could have started,” Nola said. “I understand. I definitely don’t want it to lead to an arm thing again. I definitely don’t want that to happen. But I definitely feel better today.”

The new 10-day disabled list offered the Phillies a luxury. They backdated Nola’s DL stint to April 21, which means Nola could be activated May 1. That would be his day to pitch. So, in theory, Nola could miss just one start.

“It’s not his arm, so that’s the good news,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “Hopefully, he’ll miss just one start. It’s just to be cautious.”

The rainout Tuesday complicated pitching matters. Nick Pivetta joined the Phillies on Tuesday, assigned No. 43 and a locker in the Citizens Bank Park clubhouse, but is now in limbo because he was never officially added to the roster. Pivetta was scheduled to make his major-league debut Wednesday, but Vince Velasquez now will pitch that game.

Pivetta could reunite with the Phillies in Los Angeles and pitch Sunday at Dodger Stadium, the next time the Phillies need a starter. Until then, they can carry an extra bullpen arm in Mark Leiter Jr.

Pivetta pitched well at triple-A Lehigh Valley and was the logical replacement for Nola – even if it could be a brief stay in the majors. Since his promotion to triple A late last season, the Canadian righthander has posted a 1.85 ERA in eight starts with 51 strikeouts and 12 walks in 43 2/3 innings at Lehigh Valley. The Phillies acquired him from Washington in 2015 for Jonathan Papelbon. Pivetta was surprised to receive the call.

“Yes, way sooner than I expected,” Pivetta said. “I did not expect to be here this early. I am happy to be here right now. I’ll see how long I stay and just have fun while I am here.”

Fastball command has been crucial to Pivetta’s success. He throws in the low 90s. His strikeout pitch is a curveball. His adjustment to triple-A hitters was quick.

It has helped, Pivetta said, to be in an IronPigs rotation filled with young pitchers who have matched each other’s success.

“I mean, there’s a lot of good competition down there,” Pivetta said. “You also have Jake Thompson, who just threw an outstanding game. Ben Lively has been outstanding. [Ricardo] Pinto has been throwing amazing, too. So it’s a big competition and I’m just blessed that I’m here and that they chose me.”

Nola said he did not feel tightness in his back before his last start in New York. It “gradually” became worse during the game, he said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big issue,” Nola said.

Extra bases

Pivetta, when he pitches, will become the sixth Canadian to start a game for the Phillies. The others: Phillippe Aumont, Scott Mathieson, Paul Spoljaric, Paul Quantrill, and Oscar Judd. . . . Ty Kelly was added to the roster Tuesday. He’ll serve as a utility man on the bench while outfielder Howie Kendrick is on the DL. This is Kelly’s third team of the season. He can play seven positions. “Every day,” he said, “is a new day.” . . . The Phillies did not immediately announce rescheduling details for Tuesday’s rainout. The Phillies and Marlins could play a doubleheader in August, when Miami is back in town.

mgelb@philly.com

@MattGelb

www.philly.com/Philliesblog


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Published at Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:54:54 +0000

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