The Phillies announced Wednesday that right-handed pitcher Zach Eflin will undergo surgery on Friday in Philadelphia to repair his right patellar tendon. The expected recovery timeline for the injury is six to eight months, which means Eflin is likely to miss the beginning of the 2022 season.
Eflin, 27, was placed on the injured list on July 20 with right patella tendinitis. He was activated on Aug. 26 and was supposed to make his first start against the Diamondbacks until the knee began bothering him again.
The next day Eflin, along with Andrew Knapp and Luke Williams, were placed on the COVID-19 injured list after testing positive for the virus. Eflin has been transferred from the COVID-19 related IL to the 60-day injured list. The move has little 40-man roster implications since players do not count towards the reserve limit while on the COVID-19 IL.
Even without surgery, Eflin’s chances of coming back in 2021 were slim. He didn’t have enough time left to properly build up as a starter. Eflin coming down with a breakthrough case of COVID-19 made the situation even worse as he had to stay away from the team for at least 10 days.
In 2016, Eflin underwent the same surgery on his right knee on Aug. 19 and was immobilized for six weeks. On Sept. 30, Eflin went under the knife to repair his left knee. The expectation was that Eflin would be ready for next year’s spring training. Eflin began a rehab assignment on April 6, 2017 with Clearwater and was activated and optioned to Lehigh Valley on April 11. Elbow and shoulder issues limited Eflin to just 11 starts in 2017 for the Phillies.
Eflin finishes the 2021 season with a 4.17 ERA in 18 starts. He’s arbitration eligible for the third and final time in 2022.
We’ll have more on this story as more information becomes available.
Update 4:35 PM: Manager Joe Girardi told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki that Eflin’s six to eight month recovery timeline is an estimate on when he’ll throw in a game again. He could begin throwing and other baseball activities within six months.
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