By now, the Phillies expected Phillippe Aumont to be an important force in their bullpen. They included him on their opening-day roster and envisioned a pitcher who would harness his powerful pitches for a crucial role. Instead, the 24-year-old righthander's season ended Monday when he packed his locker at triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Aumont categorized his season as "completely garbage," in comments to The (Allentown) Morning Call. The Phillies did not disagree.
"I'm sure he was disappointed not to be recalled," Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said. "But he didn't deserve to be called up. Deep down, he probably knows that. But we certainly haven't given up on him."
Aumont pitched in 22 erratic games for the Phillies before a demotion in late May. He struck out 42 and walked 38 in 35 2/3 innings with the IronPigs for a 4.04 ERA. His final appearance encapsulated a lost season. Looper said Aumont's fastball registered at 97 m.p.h. Monday and triple-A pitching coach Ray Burris marked high grades for Aumont's curveball.
"But he walked two," Looper said.
Aumont walked at least one batter in eight of his final nine appearances for Lehigh Valley. He was the centerpiece of a 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle.
Looper, a former Mariners executive, was one person who helped pick the package of players the Phillies received for Cliff Lee. Tyson Gillies, another member of the 40-man roster, was sent home like Aumont. J.C. Ramirez, the third player in the deal, has a 9.18 ERA with the Phillies.
"If I'm not in their plans," Aumont said, "I don't want to be back."
Looper said that is far from the team's thinking, not when there is so much unsettled in the bullpen.
"He didn't get to the point where we thought he would be," Looper said. "We thought at some point in the season he would be a dominating guy for us in the bullpen. He didn't get to that point. We haven't given up on him getting to that point — and I don't think he has."
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