Rich Dubee: Phillies bullpen competition starts soon

CLEARWATER, Fla. — No one, with the possible exception of Phillippe Aumont, has jumped ahead in the fight for three Phillies bullpen jobs. Aumont has left camp to pitch for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. There are plenty of innings for a litany of pitchers striving for a job.

None of the Grapefruit League numbers mean anything to Rich Dubee. For now.

Dubee, the Phillies' pitching coach, said the bullpen competition will start to matter next week.

"We'll start peeking closer," Dubee said. "They've been out there for three or four times. Those last 12 or 14 days we'll start taking a real good look at them. They should be getting enough reps between bullpen sessions and game sessions that they need to start locking some stuff in."

Two hopefuls, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes, were tagged for runs Thursday. In small sample sizes, few of the candidates— Horst (14.40 ERA), Valdes (7.36), Justin De Fratus (9.00), Mike Stutes (9.00), Jake Diekman (3.60)  — have stuck out.

"They still have to get some mound time to get comfortable," Dubee said.

EXTRA BASES. Jonathan Papelbon will not pitch as scheduled Friday because of an illness. He threw a bullpen session Thursday and Dubee said Papelbon should appear in Saturday's game. The closer has a 43.20 ERA after two outings. ... Both Tyler Cloyd (right forearm stiffness) and B.J. Rosenberg (right triceps soreness) threw bullpens Thursday. Dubee said both are "on track" to return to game action. ... On Saturday, the Phillies travel to face Tampa Bay and reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.