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Phillies place two pitchers on COVID-related injured list, Eflin on 10-day IL

Zach Eflin was placed on the 10-day injured list. (Cheryl Pursell)

The COVID-19 issues are beginning to pile up for the Phillies.

The team announced Tuesday before the first of two road matchups against the New York Yankees that relief pitchers Bailey Falter and JD Hammer were placed on the COVID-19 injured list. Mickey Moniak and Mauricio Llovera were recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in a corresponding move. 

Falter and Hammer aren’t the only Phillies pitchers who will miss time this week, as Zach Eflin was placed on the 10-day injured list with right patellar tendinitis — an injury he’s dealt with before — retroactive to Saturday. Aaron Nola was activated Tuesday after a stint on the COVID-19 injured list, taking Eflin’s place on the roster.

The Phillies’ most recent COVID-19 bout comes just nine days after Alec Bohm, Nola, Falter and Connor Brogdon were placed on the COVID-19 injured list when Bohm tested positive and the three others were deemed close contacts. Players who are vaccinated are not required to miss time after coming into contact with a positive individual. 

The Phillies are one of just a few major-league teams not to have reached the 85% vaccination threshold among Tier 1 individuals, and a Tuesday article from the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that almost half of the Phillies’ roster is unvaccinated. Teams below that 85% threshold are subject to tighter health and safety protocols, such as wearing devices that track close contacts. 

The timing of the Phillies’ COVID-related injured list situation earlier in July was relatively fortunate, coming just one day before the All-Star break. But given that the Phillies are not expected to reach that 85% figure at any point this season — a sentiment shared by manager Joe Girardi — it’s certainly possible that this issue will continue to pop up at less fortunate times such as Tuesday, the first of 20 consecutive days the Phillies will play.

The team doesn’t expect Eflin to miss significant time and is planning on using a bullpen day Wednesday, meaning Falter and Hammer’s sidelining comes at an especially inopportune time. It’s unclear how much time either will miss. 


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