Cloyd a perfect replacement for Iron Pigs

Righthander Tyler Cloyd made his season debut by pitching six perfect innings in triple-A Lehigh Valley. (Akira Suwa/Staff Photographer)

PITTSBURGH -- The most interesting minor-league story on opening day was at Allentown's Coca-Cola Park, where righthander Tyler Cloyd made his seasonal debut by pitching six perfect innings in triple-A Lehigh Valley's 3-0 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Thursday night.

That Cloyd, an 18th-round pick by the Phillies in the 2008 draft, opened with six perfect innings was impressive enough. What made it even more interesting was the fact that he was supposed to open the season with double-A Reading.

Cloyd got called up to Lehigh Valley because scheduled opening-day starter Dave Bush was suspended for five games by Major League Baseball after the Iron Pigs were involved in a bench-clearing brawl with Pittsburgh's triple-A team during a spring-training game.

Cloyd was 9-4 with a 2.77 ERA in 31 games with single-A Clearwater and Reading last season. He told reporters in Allentown that he got the call to join the Iron Pigs about 9 p.m. Wednesday. He had been scheduled to pitch the second game of Reading's opening-night doubleheader with Portland.

"He rose to the occassion, gave us a big lift and more," Iron Pigs manager Ryne Sandberg said on the Easton Express-Times web site. "Really, it was the first time I saw him throw a baseball. He was very impressive to me and gave us what we needed and then some."