CLEARWATER, Fla. — A little more than 10 months since he last appeared in a game, Mike Stutes stood on the mound at Bright House Field and tried too hard.
His first five pitches Monday were balls. His next one was driven to the warning track in left field. He walked two batters, fell behind just about every hitter he faced, and allowed a two-run triple in the sixth inning of the Phillies' 10-1 loss to Detroit.
"I was trying to be right on the black every time," Stutes said, "instead of just throwing pitches like I should have been."
The 26-year-old reliever forged a valuable spot in the Phillies' bullpen two seasons ago but starts from scratch this spring. He underwent shoulder surgery last June. With a crowded and competitive bullpen picture, Stutes needs a good spring just to make the team.