Phillies Tuesday Notebook: Leiter back in Philadelphia to have arm looked at

Mark Leiter Jr. experienced soreness in his pitching elbow
Mark Leiter Jr. has pieced together a fantastic spring, but his immediate future is in doubt as the club announced Tuesday that he experienced soreness in his forearm following his last start Friday and flew back to Philadelphia to have his right arm examined.

Leiter had looked masterful at times this spring, striking out 17 and walking three in 12 1/3 innings. He appeared to be a candidate for the final slot in the rotation too, now that Jerad Eickhoff is out for the next six-to-eight weeks with a lat issue.

The Phillies will likely stick with internal candidates to fill the void in the starting rotation, meaning Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta will presumably slide into the rotation behind Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola. With Leiter temporarily out of the picture, it opens the doors to Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Drew Hutchison or Tom Eshelman to possibly make a push for the final spot.

There's an outside chance the organization makes a run at free agent hurler Alex Cobb if he's interested in a one-year deal, but a move like that will create a logjam of pitchers on the 40-man roster that the Phillies want to see perform.

"It's nice to have some options," manager Gabe Kapler said. "Luckily we have a nice set of arms here to use and pick from."

Arrieta's Grapefruit Debut
Jake Arrieta will start Thursday's contest against Detroit at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.

The newly acquired ace pitched a simulated game on Saturday and will complete a bullpen session on Tuesday.

"It's a pretty natural progression coming off of what he's coming off of," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said following Monday's 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. "A good solid up-down, a live-BP sim game, into game action."

Though Arrieta has said his arm feels fine, it's still unclear if he'll be ready to pitch during the first week of the season.

Goodbye Joseph
The Texas Rangers claimed Tommy Joseph off waivers on Monday, officially ending his run in a Phillies uniform.

Joseph was acquired in the Hunter Pence trade with the Giants in July 2012. He hit .247 with 43 home runs, 116 RBIs and a .757 OPS in two seasons with the Phillies.

Tuesday's Starting Lineup
1. J.P Crawford 6
2. Scott Kingery 4
3. Jorge Alfaro 2
4. Odubel Herrera 8
5. Jesmuel Valentin 9
6. Pedro Florimon 5
7. Colin Cowgill 7
8. Adam Rosales 3
9. Ben Lively 1
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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