Biddle back on the mound with GCL Phillies

Reading Fightin Phils Jesse Biddle. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Jesse Biddle remains on double-A Reading’s temporary inactive list, but the Phillies' 2010 first-round pick out of Germantown Friends School returned to the mound Saturday down in Tampa, Fla.

Pitching for the Gulf Coast League Phillies, Biddle covered two innings and faced eight batters in his team’s 4-2 win over the GCL Yankees1 squad. He allowed one hit – a home run to Drew Bridges – walked one batter and struck out three.

“It was encouraging that he was back out there throwing,” Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan said.

It was the first time Biddle pitched in a game since a June 23 outing against the Binghamton Mets when he allowed 10 runs on eight hits and three walks in three innings. Two days later, he was placed on the temporary inactive list and sent down to Clearwater, where the Phillies wanted him to work mostly on clearing his mind of the negative thoughts that he admitted to having.

Biddle, 22, told the Reading Eagle at the time that “I’m miserable out there. I’m very unhappy and I don’t know why.”

Since to going to Clearwater, he has spent time talking to Roy Halladay, who had a similar mental meltdown early in his career when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays. Biddle has not spoken since being sent to Clearwater, but the Phillies viewed Saturday as a step in the right direction.

The next step for Biddle, according to Jordan, will likely be another outing in the Gulf Coast League.

“We’re not in any big hurry,” Jordan said. “We’ll see home he is (Sunday) and if everything is going well, we’ll get him back out there.”

Jordan said the Phillies believe the concussion Biddle suffered after being hit by a large piece of hail on May 22 could have contributed to his problems on the mound. Biddle was 0-5 with a 9.82 earned run average after that incident, which left his overall ERA at 5.03 in 15 starts this season.

“It may have helped manifest some of the stuff,” Jordan said. “If it was part of it, it probably was a small part. I’m just guessing, but the doctors who examined him probably thought it played a part. But I think we’ve got him back in a pretty good place now. Where he’s at is very encouraging.”