CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies addressed their lack of left-handed relief pitching on Saturday morning by adding veteran Fernando Abad to spring training on a minor-league deal.
Abad, 32, had a 3.30 ERA last season in 48 games with Boston. He struck out 37 batters and walked 14 in 43.2 innings. He relies heavily on his fastball, which has seen a slight decrease in velocity over the last four seasons.
The Phillies plan to start the season with an eight-man bullpen but opened camp with just four lefthanded options: Zac Curtis, Adam Morgan, Hoby Milner, and Brandon Leibrandt. Leibrandt is not on the 40-man roster. Morgan appears to be a lock with Abad competing with the other three for the second job.
“Another left-handed arm with a track record of success at the major-league level,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Obviously, very exciting for us to bring Mr. Abad aboard and certainly something that stands out to me right away is the three lefties that are bringing an incredible level of energy to camp right now. Between Curtis and Morgan and Milner, these guys have been exceptional this spring. Really awesome to have Abad come to camp and I’m really anxious to see what he can bring to the table.”