After Aaron Nola felt a twinge in his lower back a few days ago, the Phillies were concerned enough to send him back to Philadelphia for an MRI. The Phillies got the results on Friday, and the news was good. There was no structural damage and everything looks good to go for Nola.
The plan now, according to Phillies GM Matt Klentak, is to have Nola throw a bullpen session over the weekend. If all goes well, then he would likely go on a rehab assignment to get some work before returning to the Phillies rotation.
Nola, 23, went on the DL April 24th with a back strain. Nola felt pain in his lower back during an April 20th start against the Mets and wound up on the DL. At the time, the hope was that Nola could miss as few as just one start, and at most, two. On Monday, Nola threw a bullpen session at Wrigley Field and was hoping to start tonight against Washington at Citizens Bank Park. The next day though, Nola felt tightness in his lower back when bending over to tie his shoes and the Phillies decided to have the MRI done as a precaution.
Nola's spot in the rotation has been filled by Nick Pivetta, who made his major league debut last Sunday against the Dodgers. He was also the starting pitcher tonight against the Nationals.
The Phillies are also hoping to get outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick back in the lineup soon. Kendrick has been on the DL since April 18th with a strained oblique, and has been able to do some fielding drills in recent days. Manager Pete Mackanin told reporters Friday that Kendrick felt some discomfort in the oblique, so the Phillies will slow down his drills.
Like Nola, Kendrick will need a minor league rehab assignment prior to being activated. Mackanin was hopeful that Kendrick could start that rehab in about a week.