NL Notes: Gilbreath, Eflin, Greene, Flaherty, Miley

The Rockies announced that left-hander Lucas Gilbreath has been placed on the 15-day injured list due to a left elbow flexor strain. In a corresponding move, right-hander Alex Colome went the other direction, getting reinstated from the IL. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets that Gilbreath will undergo an MRI.

While the severity of the issue still isn’t known, it’s at least enough for Gilbreath to miss the next couple of weeks. An issue to a pitcher’s throwing elbow is always somewhat worrisome, though the club will surely get more information before deciding how to proceed. The Rox are in the basement of the National League West and won’t be in contention down the stretch, meaning there will be little incentive to rush him back to the mound.

Gilbreath has been an effective southpaw for Colorado over the past couple of seasons, registering a 3.78 ERA, not too shabby for someone who plays their home games at Coors Field. In 85 2/3 career innings, he has a 25% strikeout rate and 45.7% groundball rate, though an elevated 13.2% walk rate.

Some other injury notes from the Senior Circuit…

  • Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin is still trying to get back on the mound this season, having been on the injured list since late June due to a right knee bruise. Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that Eflin might be able to throw a bullpen this week, with the aim of eventually returning as a reliever. Given that there’s just over a month remaining in the regular season, it would be difficult for him to build back up to a starter’s workload in time to make a significant contribution. The righty has quietly been an effective member of the rotation, having registered a 4.21 ERA over 98 games, 93 of them starts, going back to the beginning of the 2018 season. He is highly likely to reach free agency this year, as he and the Phils have a mutual option for 2023, with those provisions almost never being triggered by both parties. The club currently holds the second of three Wild Card spots in the National League and a postseason run could give Eflin more time to showcase his health before reaching the open market.
  • Reds righty Hunter Greene is set to head out on a rehab assignment, reports Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. He’s been out of action for over three weeks now due to a strain in his throwing shoulder, though appears to be slated to return after a couple of rehab outings. The highly-touted rookie is known for his tremendous velocity, though he’s yet to put it to great use at the big league level. He currently owns a 5.26 ERA after 102 2/3 innings in the majors, despite a strong 28.8% strikeout rate. When batters don’t strike out, they appear to be making good contact, as Greene’s barrel percentage is only in the league’s 10th percentile while his hard hit rate is in the 30th percentile. He’ll look to finish the season on a positive note before the winter begins. Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft are all under 25 years old and showed intriguing skills in their debuts this year. The Reds will surely be hoping to maximize the talents of that trio in order to have a strong foundation of starting pitching to build around in the future.
  • Righty Jack Flaherty is going to throw another rehab start on Wednesday before rejoining the Cardinals on Labor Day, tweets Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat. After an elite season in 2019 wherein he threw 196 1/3 innings with a 2.75 ERA, Flaherty is now in his third straight injury-limited campaign. He’s made just three starts this year in between IL stints due to shoulder injuries. If he’s able to return and flash his 2019 form, he’d be a tremendous difference maker for the Cards down the stretch and into the postseason. The club is currently 5 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers in the race for the division crown. Flaherty hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in each of his last three rehab outings.
  • Cubs lefty Wade Miley is still looking to make his way back to a mound before the season is out, speaking to Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times about his year. “I can’t shut it down,” Miley said. “If I want to keep playing baseball beyond this year, I have to prove to people that I’m not broke. And I don’t feel like I’m broke by any means.” After throwing 163 innings with a 3.37 ERA with the Reds last year, he was claimed on waivers by the Cubs but has been limited to just four starts and 19 innings here in 2022, due to various ailments, primarily in his throwing shoulder. He will be hoping to return to action and show some effectiveness before the end of the season, when he will become a free agent and turn 36 years old in November.

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