Monday, April 27, 2015

Amaro tries to shore up middle relief situation

Phillies general manager says the Phillies can be patient with Mike Adams. The front of the bullpen, not so much.

Amaro tries to shore up middle relief situation

An MRI on injured set up man Mike Adams revealed a mild mid-back strain, but the Phillies remain hopeful that they will not have to place the veteran right-hander on the disabled list. Adams has not pitched since May 10, but the Phillies have been carrying an extra reliever the whole time so they have not felt shorthanded. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the team does not feel like it needs to make a decision on sending Adams to the disabled list until Tuesday, when they need to call up a fifth starter for a game against the Marlins.

"We've never been shorthanded," Amaro said. "At that point (Tuesday), if he's still not ready to play, we may DL him, but until then there is no real urgency to fill in. It's not like people are overworked out there."

Earlier in the day, the Phillies called up right-hander B.J. Rosenberg from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace the ineffective Raul Valdes, who was optioned to the minors. Valdes had allowed five home runs in 20 innings over 10 appearances, posting a 7.65 ERA with 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.2 walks per nine.

"We're going to see if he's better than Valdes," Amaro said. "Pretty simple. He's been bad, most of our middle relievers have not been very good. So we'll see if Rosey can come in. His last time he threw pretty good, he's stretched out so he can go long. So we'll see."

Rosenberg appeared in 22 games for the Phllies last season, posting a 6.12 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 5.0 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9 in 25 innings. His numbers at Triple-A are relatively pedestrian this season, although he has been pitching as a starter. In seven starts, the 27-year-old right-hander has a 4.30 ERA in 37 2/3 innings. He is averaging 5.7 strikeouts per nine, 4.8 walks per nine and 0.7 home runs per nine. But Amaro said the team felt that Rosenberg was pitching the best of the available options. He is coming off an start of seven scoreless innings against Durham, which saw him strike out three and walk one while allowing four hits.

The other obvious options were right-hander Mike Stutes and lefty Joe Savery, both of whom have spent extended stretches with the Phillies over the past few seasons. 

Stutes, who missed most of 2012 with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery, had a scoreless streak of 10 2/3 innings snapped on Thursday night, but his numbers over his last eight appearances are impressive: 11 2/3 innings, 11 strikeouts, two walks, one run, eight hits, and no home runs. That's a vast improvement over his first nine outings, when he walked eight, struck out 11 and allowed 10 run-in 12 innings. 

Savery was not available to be called up because he had not spent the required 10 days in the minors since the Phillies optioned him after a brief stint on the major league roster. 

"We tell the guys the same thing, whoever is pitching better at the time we need somebody, we'll bring," Amaro said. "That's kind of the case with Rosey. Stutes has been kind of inconsistent. He's been OK. But he's been a little inconsistent. If he was pitching better it would have been Stutesy probably."

Middle relief has been a glaring weakness for the Phillies through the first quarter of the season. Valdes, lefty Jeremy Horst and righty Chad Durbin each have an ERA over 5.20 in a combined 49 1/3 innings. The trio has allowed 18 of the 36 runners it has inherited to score.

"Durbin has more of a track record than the other guys," Amaro said. "He's going to have to pitch better. I think he knows it. How long of a leash he has, I do not know. But he needs to pitch better.

Daily News Staff Writer
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