Phillies GM Matt Klentak explains timing of Nick Pivetta demotion


Nick Pivetta, who entered the season with huge expectations, has been optioned to Triple A as the Phillies shuffle their roster.

Pivetta has not pitched well this season, posting an 8.35 ERA and .383 opponents’ batting average through four starts. On Tuesday night, he was spotted a 10-run lead by the Phillies but still had trouble, allowing two or more baserunners in all but one of his five innings and needing 100 pitches to make it through.

Jerad Eickhoff followed with four shutout innings that gave him the inside track to replacing Pivetta, at least in the short term.

Pivetta will head to the minors and try to recapture the command he had last April and May, when he missed bats with a mid-90s fastball and kept hitters off balance with an effective slider and curveball.

"Nick has all the ingredients to be a top-of-the-line major-league starter. Everyone in this organization still believes he's gonna do it and frankly, we believe he's going to do it this year," GM Matt Klentak said Wednesday morning. "But after four-plus starts, we needed to get him into an environment where he can get his confidence back.

"Jerad's had a pretty long road back, injuries and setbacks. There's no harder worker, nobody who's been a better teammate. To see what he has done in spring training, the early parts of April and last night is phenomenal. Jerad's earned the chance to get back in the rotation."

Today, the move allows the Phillies to bring up infielder Phil Gosselin, who will provide infield depth with Jean Segura dealing with a left hamstring issue that is not believed to be serious.

To make room for Gosselin on the 40-man roster, the Phillies transferred Tommy Hunter (flexor strain) to the 60-day IL.

Eickhoff will start for the Phillies Sunday at Coors Field.

"Every game matters right now," Klentak said. "We've played 16 games and we've all seen how competitive these games are going to be. The difference in the game might be one pitch or a defensive play, a key at-bat. This is going to be a dogfight all year for us, the whole division is going to be that way.

"And performance matters. In Nick's case, I believe his fastball, the depth on his breaking ball, what he can do on the mound gives him a chance to be a front-of-the-rotation starter. But he needs to get them out, too. And I think he will.

"He's not the first young pitcher to tease you with promise and struggle to capture that on a consistent basis early in his career. Most pitchers go through something like this. Sometimes development is not a perfectly straight line."

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