On the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers at Camp Clearwater, the Phillies have one fewer pitcher on their spring training roster.
Veteran reliever Juan Cruz will not report to the Carpenter Complex.
“We mutually parted ways, so to speak,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
The 34-year-old Cruz had agreed to join the Phillies on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training last month. But apparently he wasn’t as enthused with the opportunity presented in Clearwater after the Phils came to an agreement on a major league deal with Chad Durbin later in the month, according to Amaro.
“After discussing (things) with his agent… we decided to kind of part ways,” Amaro said. “He won’t be in camp and he’ll be able to sign wherever he wants to for maybe a better opportunity.”
Amaro said the Phils went that route “out of respect for a guy who’s been in the big leagues nine years.” Cruz had never officially signed a contract with the Phillies, only a “letter of agreement,” according to Amaro.
So it’s not an official release.
On Tuesday, the first day pitchers and catchers had to report to camp, Amaro said Cruz was a no-show because of a "miscommunication" involving his agent.
In any event, the number of players competing for the final few spots in the bullpen is down to one less reliever. As the roster stands on Feb. 13, four players are likely locks for the bullpen – closer Jonathan Papelbon, fellow righthanders Mike Adams and Durbin and lefthander Antonio Bastardo.
If the Phils break camp with seven relievers, there will be three openings for a group that includes but is not limited to righthanders Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, Mike Stutes, Michael Schwimer and lefties Jake Diekman, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes.
The Phillies have 59 players in camp: 30 pitchers, 6 catchers, 12 infielders and 11 outfielders.