Bullpen Help Needed?
The Phillies are looking at rookie left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona and Mike Zagurski to take his place until Romero returns. So far Bastardo and Escalona have struggled. Zagurski has pitched just once.
Escalona allowed four hits, three runs and one walk in one inning today in a 4-3 loss to the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. In three Grapefruit League appearances, Escalona has allowed eight hits, five runs and one walk in three innings. He has a 15.00 ERA and two blown saves. Bastardo has allowed five hits, four runs (three earned runs) in two innings in two appearances. He has a 13.50 ERA and one blown save. He has struck out four. Zagurski threw two scoreless innings in his only Grapefruit League appearance. He will pitch Monday morning in a B game against the Blue Jays at Dunedin Stadium.
“Well, not as good as I’d like to see yet,” said Rich Dubee, asked to assess his left-handed pitching situation with Opening Day nearly three weeks away. “But I’m sure it will iron itself out. We like both of those kids. We like Zagurski, even though he hasn’t been in many games. We think those guys have the ability to pitch in the big leagues. But the later we get in the spring the more they’re going to have to show it. They haven’t shown it yet.”
And if they don’t?
“We’ll see,” Dubee said. “We’ll make that call when we have to make that call.”
Ruben Amaro Jr. said Saturday there is no “sense of urgency” to find a left-handed pitcher to help the bullpen, but if the right pitcher comes at the right price (a Minor League contract, for example) and Bastardo and Escalona continue to struggle that could change.