Phillies’ pitcher Eickhoff breaks thumb as camp opens

Philadelphia Phillies' Jerad Eickhoff pitches during the third inning of a baseball game. (Matt Slocum/AP)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff broke his right thumb before camp opened and is behind as pitchers and catchers begin official workouts this week.

The team expects he will be ready by Opening Day.

"He shouldn’t be far behind, it’s going to set him back a little, but not much," manager Pete Mackanin said. "We expect him to be fine."

Eickhoff injured the thumb last week while taking bunting practice in the indoor cages of the Carpenter Complex.

"It was off the machine, up and in," Eickhoff said. "I tried to kind of get out of the way of it, but at the same time my thumb came off the bat and it grazed my thumb. It kind bruised it pretty good."

Eickhoff hopes to throw off the mound within the next week after recovering from the small, non-displaced fracture. The 25-year-old is projected to be in the Phillies starting rotation along with fellow second-year starter Aaron Nola and veterans Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton.

Eickhoff went 3-3 with a 2.65 ERA in eight starts with the Phillies in 2015. He joined the organization as the trade deadline last year as one of the five players the Phillies received back from the Texas Rangers in exchange for lefthanders Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman.

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