Lee has been on the disabled list since May 19 with a strained left elbow. It was the first time he had thrown since May 18, when he threw 6 2/3 against the Reds. Lee said his elbow is not 100 percent yet, but it is improving.
“He’ll do that every other day for a couple of days and then back-to-back after that twice,” Ryne Sandberg said of the 30-35 throws Lee made yesterday. “And then keep progressing from there. … He just said he’s gradually gotten better and it got to the point where, pretty much no sensation in there. So that was the indication to start throwing yesterday.”
There is no timetable for Lee’s return, although he already has missed considerable time so he will need to rebuild arm strength. That will take weeks, not days.
They called up their best young bullpen arm to replace him.
Right-hander Ken Giles will take Adams’ spot in the Phillies’ bullpen. Giles, who touches 100 mph with his fastball, has been on the minds of fans since he started to put up eye-popping numbers in April with Double-A Reading. He had a 1.20 ERA in 13 appearances with Reading. He struck out 29 and walked five in 15 innings.
He was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley early last month. He posted a 2.63 ERA in 11 appearances, but struck out just nine and walked eight in 13 2/3 innings.
“He’s had some good outings,” Ryne Sandberg said. “He’s the next guy in line for us. We saw him in the spring and his control has been better and he’s made some improvement.”
They have said it is a coincidence, but through the 25th round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft they have selected 24 college players (96 percent). That is way above the average for the Phillies over the previous 10 drafts. Here is a look at those drafts with information provided by Baseball Reference:
- 2004: 32 of 50 players drafted were four-year, junior or community college players (64 percent)
- 2005: 27 of 49 (55.1 percent)
- 2006: 30 of 51 (58.8 percent)
- 2007: 26 of 52 (50 percent)
- 2008: 26 of 53 (49.1 percent)
- 2009: 30 of 49 (61.2 percent)
- 2010: 35 of 50 (70 percent)
- 2011: 27 of 51 (52.9 percent)
- 2012: 21 of 42 (50 percent)
- 2013: 26 of 41 (63.4 percent)
College players represented 280 of 488 (57.4 percent) of Phillies draft picks over the previous 10 years.
They selected Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo left-hander Matt Imhof with the 47th overall pick in the second round. Imhof, who is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, is considered a late bloomer, having not been drafted out of high school.
“Big left-hander with a plus fastball, average to above breaking ball and a lot deception in his delivery,” Marti Wolever said. “We’ve seen a lot of him. From USA team last summer and again this spring. And certainly a rotation guy we think. We think middle to the back of the rotation.”
MLB.com’s scouting report says Imhof, “pitches downhill with natural cutting movement on his fastball. His short, sharp slider is an out pitch at times. He has solid feel for a changeup, though it’s still a work in progress. Imhof is generally around the plate with all of his pitches and has been one of the nation’s top strikeout pitchers. There’s still some upside to Imhof as he continues to fill out, giving him the chance to be in a big league rotation in the future.”
Imhof went 10-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 15 starts this season. He allowed 65 hits, 43 walks and struck out 124 batters in 99 1/3 innings.
“He’s got a chance to go through (the farm system) a little quicker,” Wolever said. “Not as quickly as (first-round pick Aaron) Nola, but he throws strikes and he commands the strike zone so that certainly works to his advantage.”
The draft continues with the third round tomorrow. The Phillies most certainly will start taking some position players on the second day.
“Some of the bats that we kind of focused on were gone at that point and we thought he was the best option at that point in time,” Wolever said of their second-round pick.
They followed through and selected LSU right-hander Aaron Nola.
“We would hope that in a couple of years he could be here pitching here in the organization with the Major League team,” Phillies assistant general manager of amateur scouting Marti Wolever said. “It’s hard to say, but within a couple of years, I think that’s a pretty safe estimate.”
MLB.com considered Nola the sixth-best player available in the Draft, and most scouts project him to be the first starting pitcher to appear in the big leagues. He is 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, so he is not imposing on the mound. But Nola has excellent command of his pitches, which includes a two-seam and four-seam fastball, a changeup and a breaking ball. His fastball sits in the 92-94 mph range, although Wolever said he has seen him touch 97 mph.
“A name that was mentioned upstairs (in the Phillies front office) quite frequently was Tim Hudson,” Wolever said, when asked for a comparable big-league pitcher. “I hate to put it on these kids because now all of a sudden they’ve got to live up to that. But that was tossed around quite a bit with our group. Just the command and the life on his fastball. … There’s something to say about having ‘now’ stuff. And that’s what Aaron Nola has. Aaron Nola has ‘now’ stuff. We don’t really have to project a lot because it’s already here.”
Nola, 21, is eager to get started.
“I kind of want to get going,” he said in a telephone interview Thursday night. “I look forward to getting up there.”
It sounds like that should not be a problem. Wolever said he thinks they are “very close” to signing Nola. Once he signs, it would not be a surprise to see him begin his professional career with Class A Clearwater, but because he threw 116 1/3 inning this season the Phillies plan to bring him along slowly.
On the train to DC this morning I crunched some numbers and came up with a few thoughts about the Phillies, who seem to be headed nowhere fast following a 4-7 homestand, which included their first no-hit loss since 1978 and four losses in five games to the Mets.
The Phillies are 9-17 since they were 15-14 on May 4. It’s the worst record in the National League in that span.
They are 24-31 overall. They were 26-29 at this point last year, when they were on their way to 89 losses.
I’m typically one to preach patience during a 162-game season because it is difficult to draw concrete conclusions about a team a little more than two months into it. I often remind people about the deficits the 2007 and 2008 Phillies overcame to win the National League East: seven down with 17 to play in 2007 and 3 ½ back with 16 to play in 2008. But those teams did at least one thing very, very well. Those teams had the best offense in the National League. They hit the cover off the ball. They also had a very good bullpen down the stretch in 2007 and a great one throughout 2008. They also played good defense.
But the 2014 Phillies don’t do anything well. You can’t say, “This team has fantastic starting pitching, so if they can just add a bullpen arm and get Domonic Brown going they should be OK.”
There are holes everywhere.
Brown is hitting .206 with six doubles, one triple, four home runs, 27 RBIs, 15 walks, 36 strikeouts and a .557 OPS through the team’s first 55 games. It reminds me of Pat Burrell’s 2003 season. Burrell’s struggles were a huge story that year. Fans wanted him sent to Triple-A, like Brown. I got emails from people asking about Burrell’s eyesight or other ailments that might be affecting him at the plate. But through 55 games in 2003, Burrell was hitting .204 with 13 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 25 RBIs, 31 walks, 64 strikeouts and a .751 OPS. Amazing. Burrell’s OPS was nearly 200 points higher than Brown’s is today.
He will report tomorrow to Clearwater, Fla., for extended Spring Training.
Marquis went 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 20 starts last season with the Padres before having Tommy John surgery in July. He is 121-114 with a 4.56 ERA in 368 appearances (309 starts) over a 14-year big-league career.
The Phillies are short on starting pitching depth with Cliff Lee, Jonathan Pettibone and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez each on the disabled list.
It felt much longer.
The Phillies dropped four of five to the Mets, who entered the series tied with the Phillies for fourth place in the NL East. The Phillies, who have the third-highest payroll in baseball, now stand alone in last place, three games behind the third-place Nationals and Mets. The Phillies went 4-7 on their just completed homestand, which included their first no-hit loss since 1978 and one other shutout loss.
Are the Phillies worried this is who they are?
“I’m not a negative person, so, no,” Chase Utley said.
Does this team have the talent to win?
“We’ve showed better baseball before this series,” Ryne Sandberg said. “We’ve showed better baseball than we’ve played overall and I believe that the core group is there.”
But the evidence suggests otherwise. The Phillies are 24-31, two games worse than they were at this point last season when they lost 89 games. They can’t hit consistently. They can’t pitch consistently. There are fundamental mistakes every night. There is nothing right now to suggest this team can get on a hot streak.
“I’ll say that we’ve showed signs of fundamental baseball,” Sandberg said. “We’ve played better defense than we’ve played in this series. It’s just putting together the pitching, the defense, executing throughout the game and having some timely hits and some better support. Putting it all together or more of the parts of the game together to put together a game.”
“It’s still there a little bit,” Lee said today about the discomfort in his left elbow. “It’s getting better.”
Lee has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 19 with a strained elbow. He said he plans to join the team on its upcoming six-game road trip to Washington and Cincinnati, which begins Tuesday night against the Nationals at Nationals Park. He is hopeful he can begin his throwing program on the road.
“There’s a chance that could happen on this road trip,” Ryne Sandberg said.
If you do not see somebody listed it means they have not chosen a song:
- Cody Asche: Dat New New – Kid Cudi
- Reid Brignac: Drop Tha Top – Boss Hogg Outlawz
- Domonic Brown: In Da Wind – Trick Daddy and Move That Dope – Future
- A.J. Burnett: Walking Dead Theme – Bear McCreary
- Marlon Byrd: Get Like Me – David Banner and Work – DJ Smoke f/Gangstarr
- Tony Gwynn Jr.: So Fresh So Clean – Outkast
- Ryan Howard: They Don’t Love You No More – DJ Khaled
- John Mayberry Jr.: Look Ahead – Future
- Wil Nieves: No Soy Yo – Tony Vega
- Ben Revere: Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
- Jimmy Rollins: Walk Thru – Rich Homie Quan
- Darin Ruf: Awake and Alive – Skillet
- Carlos Ruiz: In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins
- Chase Utley: Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
- Mike Adams: Intro – DMX
- David Buchanan: Agnus Dei / Worthy – Third Day
- A.J. Burnett: Black Skinhead – Kanye West
- Cole Hamels: Thunderstruck – AC/DC
- Kyle Kendrick: The Outsiders – Eric Church
- Cliff Lee: Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
- Jonathan Papelbon: Bout That Life – Meek Mill