By Sam Bush

Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson pulled Zach Eflin after just two innings in yesterday’s 9-3 loss to the Nationals, and there is concern over Elfin’s right knee.

“We knew going in today we were going to limit him to around three innings max,” Thomson said.

“During the first two innings, he was doing a lot of running around, covering first base, backing up bases. He looked, to me, a little ginger walking around. So I was just being careful with him.”

Elfin said the knee discomfort that forced him to end his previous start on Tuesday in Miami after 80 pitches was diagnosed as a fat pad impingement, and that he took the mound yesterday at less than 100 percent. As of now, he plans to pitch through the issue unless it worsens. He remains on turn to make his next start, scheduled for June 25 in San Diego.

“There is nothing structurally wrong with anything in my knee. It’s more of a bruise, or impingement, under my patella tendon, which is great news,” Eflin said.

“We have to find that common ground of when to push it, and when to back off and let it heal itself. So going into today, we talked about doing a kind of opener situation, see what I can do. I’m encouraged to know we didn’t take a step back. It felt better than last start, and keeps trending in the right direction.”

Eflin had his knee surgically repaired last September. He said the recent discomfort stems from his June 9 start in Milwaukee, when he twisted the knee jumping to complete a barehanded play in front of the mound. Eflin said he’s pitched at less than 100 percent since, enough that he “couldn’t comfortably push off my back leg” during his past two starts.

He said he did not consider skipping Sunday’s start.

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