Sixto Sanchez, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, has not pitched in two weeks as he deals with a sore neck.
The righthander made three starts this season for Class A Lakewood. He has 28 strikeouts and just three walks in 241/3 innings. He struck out seven batters over five innings in his last start on May 7. Lakewood then drove 675 miles home.
"I don't know if it was after a long bus ride or what. It was just some neck stiffness," said Joe Jordan, the team's director of player development. "We're managing his innings anyway, so we took it as an opportunity to step back. He's throwing a bullpen or two. He'll be back out there soon."
Sanchez created buzz last season in the Gulf Coast League when he registered a 0.50 ERA in 11 starts. He struck out 44 batters and walked eight in 54 innings. He has a fastball that sits between 95 and 98 mph. Baseball America ranked him earlier this month as the 61st best prospect in baseball. He turns 19 in July. There is a lot to be excited about. But for now, the Phillies stress patience.
"He's 18 years old," Jordan said. "We're managing his innings."
Andrew Pullin batted under .300 for three straight seasons before moving last May to double A. He entered Thursday night batting .341 in his first 80 career games at double A. The left fielder is playing with confidence.
"I feel good," Pullin said. "I feel like I'm just keeping it simple at the plate, getting good pitches to hit, and making good contact. My pitch selection is improving."
Pullin went 3 for 4 on Thursday and hit his ninth homer of the season after homering just four times last year. He's batting .345 with 29 RBIs in 35 games. The Phillies listed the 23-year-old Pullin as "retired" at the start of last season. He said he went home for a month to take care of a family situation. He returned rejuvenated and hit his way to double A. He's now pushing for triple A.
"Once he got to double A, it just seemed like he was comfortable," Jordan said. "I see a real confident hitter that, when he has a bad at-bat or two, he gets rid of it. He probably hits the ball consistently as hard as anyone we have."