Results tagged ‘ Antonio Bastardo ’

Reports: Bastardo Suspended 50 Games

Antonio BastardoThe Phillies got another dose of bad news today when Major League Baseball suspended left-hander Antonio Bastardo 50 games for violations in relation to its Biogenesis investigation.

Bastardo will begin serving the suspension without pay immediately.

He had been one of the only reliable arms in one of the worst bullpens in baseball. He is 3-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 48 appearances. He has allowed 32 hits, 11 earned runs, 21 walks and has struck out 47 in 42 2/3 innings.

He had been serving as the team’s setup man with Mike Adams on the disabled list recovering from right shoulder surgery.

Phillies president David Montgomery issued a statement that read: “Obviously, the Phillies are very disappointed to learn of Antonio Bastardo’s violation of Major League Baseball’s Drug Program. We strongly believe in the Program and look forward to a time when performance enhancing drugs are completely out of baseball. Hopefully the sanctions announced today will bring us closer to that day. We respect the fact that Antonio has acknowledged his serious mistake and accepted his 50-game suspension.”

The Phillies said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was unavailable for comment.

Bastardo is making $1.4 million this season, which means he will forfeit about $460,000 in salary. He is eligible to return for the team’s final game of the season Sept. 29 in Atlanta, although that is unlikely.

Former big-league pitcher Dan Meyer expressed his anger toward Bastardo on Twitter. He pitched with the Phillies in Spring Training in 2011, going 2-0 with a 6.75 ERA in five appearances. He was assigned to Minor League camp before the Phillies released him.

“Hey Antonio Bastardo, remember when we competed for a job in 2011. Thx alot.” He added later, “Never said I was good enough but what about the players that never got their chance? Their lives could have been completely different.”

Bullpen Problems

The Phillies bullpen had two encouraging months at the end of last season, which had nearly everybody in the organization optimistic about 2013.

It has not worked out that way.

The bullpen entered tonight’s series opener against the Padres at PETCO Park with a 4.67 ERA, which is the worst mark in baseball and the worst in Charlie Manuel’s nine-year tenure as manager. The Phillies will keep their fingers crossed regarding setup man Mike Adams, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract in December. He could require surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. He will see Dodgers physician Neal ElAttrache tomorrow in Los Angeles after a recent MRI exam revealed changes in the labrum from a previous MRI.

“Our doctors are not recommending surgery right now, but we’ll see what ElAttrache says,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Rich Dubee said with Adams sidelined and little experience in the bullpen other than Jonathan Papelbon (494 career appearances) and Antonio Bastardo (192 career appearances), there will be no defined roles, although it appears Bastardo will be the team’s unofficial setup man. Justin De Fratus also could pitch in the eighth inning if there is a matchup of tough right-handed hitters.

Phillippe Aumont (34), De Fratus (37), Jake Diekman (37), J.C. Ramirez (one) and Joe Savery (28) have a combined 137 career appearances among them.

“We know who we have at the end,” said Dubee, referring to Papelbon. “We’ll pitch the rest to get to the end. We’ll see. We’ll mix and match probably as much as possible. If some guy gets on a hot roll, he may be closer to the end of the game. It’s an opportunity for all of these kids. A golden opportunity.”

Asked about the bullpen’s struggles, Dubee said, “It’s probably the youngest we’ve had. Even at the start it was young. Michael (Adams) was a question mark coming in after the (thoracic outlet syndrome) surgery. We felt good about the three guys at the back end. Chad (Durbin) was here to pick up some innings in the middle. That was an acquisition. (Jeremy) Horst got off to a bad start. (Raul) Valdes got off to a bad start. Those were two guys we got big years out of last year. That’s a crapshoot in baseball; trying to find the right bullpen pieces. After wear and tear, sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get.”

Diekman Could Put Heat on Lefties in Pen

diekmanCan Jake Diekman get out left-handed hitters?

Can he throw strikes?

If he can, he should put serious heat on the left-handers currently in the Phillies bullpen: Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst and Joe Savery. The Phillies optioned right-hander Tyler Cloyd to Triple-A Lehigh Valley today as left-hander John Lannan will take his place in the rotation Monday against the Nationals. The Phillies recalled Diekman to take Cloyd’s place, although he will not join the team until tomorrow in Colorado.

Diekman’s overall numbers in Triple-A are not good – 24 walks in 30 innings and a 5.70 ERA in 30 appearances – but he has been fantastic against left-handed hitters. They are hitting just .161 with a .461 OPS against him with just five hits and two walks in 34 plate appearances.

It is no secret the Phillies bullpen has been a major problem this season, and the team’s left-handers have played a significant role in those struggles. Bastardo, who is the bullpen’s top lefty, has struggled in tight spots. He allowed the game-winning run to score Tuesday and put the game-tying and game-winning runs on base Wednesday. He allowed big hits against left-handed hitters each time. Lefties are hitting .263 with an .823 OPS against him.

Lefties are hitting .282 with an .832 OPS against Horst, who is second on the team in appearances despite a 5.55 ERA. Savery has pitched just three times with the Phillies, although lefties are 3-for-4 against him.

If Diekman shows something this weekend at Coors Field he could remain as a lefty specialist and the Phillies could option Horst or Savery to Triple-A on Monday, when they need to activate Lannan for his start at Citizens Bank Park. If you’re wondering about Bastardo, he’s not going anywhere.

The Phillies Got Bullpen Problems

Mike AdamsThe Phillies tied last night’s game against the Twins in the top of the eighth inning at Target Field only to have Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo allow the game-winning run to score in the bottom half of the inning.

We’ve seen plenty of performances like this from the bullpen this year.

Back in February, when the Phillies opened spring training in Clearwater, they thought the bullpen could be a position of strength. The bullpen had a 2.84 ERA the final two months last season, so they figured with the additions of Adams and Chad Durbin to a group that included Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo and a host of talented young pitchers, they would continue to take a step forward. But the bullpen has taken a big step back. Its 4.48 ERA is the third-worst in baseball. It has allowed 42.9 percent of its inherited runners to score, which is the worst in baseball. Its 1.46 WHIP is second-worst.

Let’s take a look at the stable of relievers, and how they have fared:

  • Jonathan Papelbon. He is being paid a fortune to close, but he is doing the job. He is 11-for-11 in save opportunities with a 1.59 ERA, but you’ve got to think the Phillies will try to move him if they decide to sell before the July 31 trade deadline. It doesn’t make much sense to have a high-priced closer on a rebuilding team.
  • Mike Adams. The Phillies signed him to a two-year, $12 million contract in December, acknowledging it carried risk following TOC surgery in October. Adams’ stuff hasn’t been the same and he has had problems staying healthy. He is 1-4 with a 4.22 ERA with a 7.11 ERA since coming off the DL May 26.
  • Antonio Bastardo. He has a 2.42 ERA in 27 appearances, but a 1.478 WHIP and is averaging 5.6 walks per nine innings. He also is striking out fewer batters than he has in the past. Bastardo always seems to be in trouble. Maybe that explains why he has entered a game with runners on base just three times. He has allowed two of four inherited runners to score, including one last night.
  • Chad Durbin. Released. He had a 9.00 ERA in 16 appearances.
  • Phillippe Aumont. Manuel specifically mentioned Aumont last night when asked about the bullpen’s struggles. He said everybody expected him to take a step forward this year. But he had an alarming 2.077 WHIP, averaging 6.9 walks per nine innings before he got sent to Triple-A last month. In eight appearances with the IronPigs, he has an 8.59 ERA and has walked 12 batters in 7 1/3 innings.
  • Jeremy Horst. He is second on the team with 26 appearances, but has a 5.55 ERA. That kind of sums up the bullpen’s struggles right there.
  • Raul Valdes. The Phillies sent him to Triple-A after posting a 7.65 ERA in 10 appearances.
  • Mike Stutes. He has had good results since coming up from Triple-A, carrying a 1.80 ERA in eight appearances. He has walked just one batter in 10 innings.
  • Justin De Fratus. The Phillies wanted him to open the season with the team, but they didn’t think his arm was where it needed to be. De Fratus has a 1.80 ERA and a fantastic 0.800 WHIP in 13 appearances. You wonder if he could move into Adams’ role if Adams continues to struggle. He has the coaching staff’s trust.
  • B.J. Rosenberg. Ruben Amaro Jr. called up Rosenberg on May 17 to replace Valdes, saying he was throwing the best and he had a big arm that could strike out people. But Rosenberg posted a 12.00 ERA in three appearances, following a 6.12 ERA in 22 appearances last season. Rosenberg throws hard, but he hasn’t proven he can get hitters out on a consistent basis.
  • Joe Savery. He has been with the team three times this season after throwing the ball well in Triple-A. But he has only pitched twice with the Phillies.
  • Jake Diekman. He has not pitched with the Phillies this season, but I include him here because they raved about his arm and upside, and with the struggles of Horst and Valdes he could have been called up at some point, except he can’t throw strikes. He has a 5.70 ERA and has walked 24 batters in 30 innings in 30 appearances with Lehigh Valley.

High Flying, Low Scoring Phillies

Ben RevereThe photo above is the second-best catch Ben Revere made last night in Cincinnati.

Take a look at the best one here.

The Phillies lost to the Reds, 4-2, in what truly was a great game. Great pitching. Great defense. Some clutching hitting (although far too little for the Phillies). But a well-played game from both sides. The Phillies’ bats have been quiet since scoring seven runs Wednesday against the Mets. They have scored just eight runs in four games since. They could get away with that against an awful team like the Marlins, but the Reds are quite a bit better offensively.

Two runs won’t cut it in Cincinnati.

People have asked about the eighth inning and why the Phillies started Jeremy Horst in a tie game, rather than somebody else. The answer is pretty simple: Horst had warmed up and was about to go into the game trailing 2-0 when Chase Utley unexpectedly hit a two-out, two-run home run to right field to tie the game. If you’re asking, “Why weren’t they warming up Mike Adams or Antonio Bastardo just in case they tied the game?” the answer is even easier: you can’t warm up everybody all the time during a six-month, 162-game season in the event somebody might hit a two-out, two-run, pinch-hit home run to tie the game. You’ll blow out the arms of pitchers like Adams and Bastardo, and then you’re really screwed.

But Manuel also acknowledged they are concerned about using Adams too much. Remember he had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery after last season and had pitched in four of the previous five games. Bastardo had pitched in three of the previous four. Of course, if you’re now asking, “Well, they had Adams finish the eighth anyway, so what’s the difference?” They used Adams at that point because they were trying to extend the game and liked his chances of getting a groundball out. He got one. It just wasn’t hit at anybody. If the Phillies were tied or leading before Utley’s at-bat, then I bet Bastardo or Adams pitch. But they weren’t.

On a side note: Horst suffered some crappy luck in the eighth. He allowed a swinging bunt single and a bloop double to right-center field. It’s not like the Reds smoked the ball against them. But the bigger picture is the Phillies’ offense needs to get on track. They’re not doing much of anything right now. I know the pitcher has a big part in it, but the pitcher can’t have a big part in it every night.

Green Likes Phillies, But Kids Need to Step Up

Dallas Green, Charlie ManuelIt’s always interesting to get Dallas Green‘s take on the Phillies. He has spent a lifetime in baseball, spending the recent past working in the Phillies’ front office as an adviser. The man has his opinions.

I wanted to talk to him yesterday about the past and if he sees any relation to the Phillies’ future. The Phillies won three consecutive National League East championships from 1976-78 before stumbling badly in 1979. Players knew entering the 1980 season they basically needed to get things turned around or the front office would make some big changes. Of course, they won the World Series. I asked Green if he thought there were any comparisons between the 1979-80 and the 2012-13 teams.

Read that story here.

But Green also offered his take on the current Phillies. Here is some of what he said:

Q: Can this team compete?
A: It’s a good club. The age business in baseball isn’t as stark as other sports in my mind. There are ways to rest guys. There are ways to take care of themselves, even though 162 is a hell of a grind. But our guys are very experienced. Jimmy (Rollins) knows how. Unfortunately he shows it too many times running to first, but Pete (Rose) never let age get to him. He didn’t have a great year in ’80, but he played his ass off. And experience carried him. Boonie (Bob Boone) was starting to show some age. Bull (Greg Luzinski) was breaking down a little bit too often. Smitty (Mike Schmidt) was still sound, but he was in his 30s. (Manny) Trillo, same way. Bake (McBride), same way. (Larry) Bowa, same way. There are a lot of similarities.

Q: Do you like the moves the Phillies made in the offseason?
A: I love Michael Young. I think he epitomizes what Chase (Utley) brings: the team value, the work ethic that’s important to a club like this. I mean, we lived on natural talent for so long. We really did. We could out-talent a lot of teams. We can’t do that anymore. You cannot go out there and just bang guys around and say, ‘We’re the Phillies.’ Now you’ve got to respect the other guys and figure out a way to win the game. And that takes some thought process in game situations. Those are very, very important. Game situation baseball is what I preach and what I live by. You can’t always hit a home run. You can’t always out-talent guys. You can’t always have good days. So you’re going to have a bad day, where you say, ‘If we can just get a run.’ That hurts pitching when you can’t.

Q: Would it surprise you if this team made the playoffs?
A: Oh, no. It wouldn’t surprise me. It really is expected. Again, there’s ifs. God damn, you’ve got to stay healthy. And we’ve got to have a couple of the young guys come through here. Whether it’s (Domonic) Brown or (Darin) Ruf or whoever. Somebody has to step forward and play baseball. Somebody has to. Even in the pitching. We’ve got a young bullpen. (Mike) Adams obviously is a big fit for us. And of course we’ve got (Jonathan) Papelbon. He’s one of the best. And then (Antonio) Bastardo, one day he’s good the next we don’t know what we have. And the rest of them are young. And they’re the guys that have to come forward. At least keep us in the god damn game in the sixth and seventh inning so if we can mount comebacks we can mount comebacks.

Q: You had some young guys step up in ’80. This team does need some young guys to step up this year.
A: It’s the same old thing. If you’re a prospect eventually you’ve got to put numbers up. You’ve got to put numbers up. I’ve always felt that in the Minor Leagues. I said how in the hell can I bring a guy hitting .220 over 140 games to the big leagues and expect him to be a big production guy? You can’t do it. Sooner or later in the Minor Leagues you’ve got to put some numbers up. And that gives you enough confidence to put you out here. It’s like Ruf. A couple years ago probably half of us didn’t think he could play. But he worked at his game, he got himself in better shape and he started popping the ball. That’s his style. He’s a home run hitter. He isn’t going to win a Gold Glove. You’re not getting a Gold Glove. And Brownie. I love the guy. I really do. Brownie has to step up. I read about opportunity. Gene Mauch used to tell us, ‘Here’s your opportunity. When I give you the baseball, go get an out. When I tell you to pinch-hit get a hit.’ That’s the opportunity. I’ve always impressed guys — that’s your opportunity. You couldn’t ask for more opportunities than he’s had for the production he’s given us. Opportunity is opportunity. ‘What’s my role? What’s my role?’ The role is if you make the 25 (man roster), if you’re asked to do something do it.

Phillies, Durbin Agree to 1-Year Deal

Phillies to Offer Werth Arbitration, Not DurbinThe Phillies are bringing back a familiar face to fortify their bullpen.

Sources told MLB.com today the Phillies and right-hander Chad Durbin have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, pending a physical. The deal includes a club option for 2014.

“It gives us some depth,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He was a guy who was out there at a very good price and still available late in the (offseason). He loved Philadelphia and liked being in Philly and we’re hoping to get something done in the next 24 hours or so. … Veteran guy and a quality guy and he can give us something that the young guys may not be able to give us and that’s experience.”

Durbin, 35, pitched for the Phillies from 2008-10, when he helped solidify the middle innings.

He went 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 76 appearances last season with the Atlanta Braves. He had a 2.33 ERA from April 18 through the end of the regular season, and carried a 0.83 ERA in 28 appearances against the National League East.

Durbin is expected to join a bullpen that includes closer Jonathan Papelbon, setup man Mike Adams and left-hander Antonio Bastardo. Durbin’s arrival means there likely will be three jobs available in the bullpen, which should make for an interesting competition in Spring Training.

The Phillies obviously hope Durbin helps them on the mound, but they also might welcome his positive presence and potential influence on the team’s younger relief pitchers. Durbin was a popular player in the Phillies clubhouse during his three seasons, and known as a good guy that fit in seamlessly with other Phillies relievers like Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero and Scott Eyre.

Durbin went 11-7 with a 3.62 ERA in his three seasons with the Phillies, when they won a World Series championship, two National League pennants and three division titles.

Herndon Gone

The Blue Jays claimed right-hander David Herndon off waivers today.

The Phillies removed Herndon from the 40-man roster, which was not a surprise. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and had been eligible for salary arbitration. Plus, several relief pitchers had moved ahead of him on the depth chart. Interestingly, to make room for Herndon on their 40-man roster, the Blue Jays designated Tyson Brummett for assignment. They claimed Brummett from the Phillies last week.

The Phillies have three players eligible for salary arbitration: left-hander Antonio Bastardo, outfielder Nate Schierholtz and infielder Kevin Frandsen.

Charlie Wants A Big Arm; Bastardo’s Future

The Phillies continue their 2013 bullpen auditions, and with just 14 games to play every inning counts.

Obviously, Jonathan Papelbon will be in the bullpen next year, but who else is behind him?

“I think we have some real good pieces there,” Charlie Manuel said before Wednesday’s game against the Mets at Citi Field. “But I think we need at least one good piece. And when I talk about pieces, I mean someone that’s very, very good. First-class good. That’s what it takes to be a first-class team.”

Manuel wants at least one stud to come from outside the organization, which certainly must be on the Phillies’ to-do list anyway. But inside the organization, right-hander Josh Lindblom, who the Phillies acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade, would seem to have an inside track on a job. Left-hander Antonio Bastardo would seem like an obvious choice, too, but he is 2-5 with a 4.63 ERA in 58 appearances this season and 2-6 with a 5.79 ERA in 66 appearances dating to last season.

Is it possible left-handers Jake Diekman and Jeremy Horst and maybe a left-hander somewhere on the free agent market could bump him out? The Phillies absolutely love Diekman’s arm, although his Achilles heel is throwing strikes. Horst has done the job. He is 1-0 with a 1.14 ERA in 24 appearances.

After all, this business is about results and for more than a year Bastardo has not had them.

“Oh, no,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I think he’s part of our club. Obviously he’s going to have to continue to prove himself, but I believe he’s going to be part of our club. None of these things are slam dunks for any of the guys, other than maybe Pap. I think (Bastardo) has more experience. I think he’s a much better pitcher than he’s shown. He’s not as great a pitcher as he was probably for the bulk of the season last season, but … you’ve got to kind of get him back on track and moving forward.”

Where Is Bastardo?

The Phillies have been getting a good look recently at Phillies relief pitchers like Josh Lindblom, Michael Schwimer, B.J. Rosenberg and Jeremy Horst.

Antonio Bastardo? He has not pitched since Aug. 8.

“He’s alright,” Charlie Manuel said.

Manuel said it is nothing more than a matter of circumstance why Bastardo, who entered the season as the team’s left-handed setup man, has not pitched in 10 days, while every other pitcher in the bullpen has made an appearance no longer than four days ago.

“We ain’t down on him or nothing,” Manuel said. “We’re going to pitch him.”

Bastardo is 2-4 with a 5.45 ERA in 45 appearances this season. It has been quite a fall from last season, when he went 6-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 64 appearances. But Bastardo, who struggled the final month of last season, also is 2-5 with a 6.80 ERA in 53 appearances since Sept. 3, 2011.

Asked if Bastardo can be the team’s No. 1 left-hander in the bullpen in 2013, Manuel said, “It gets back to consistency. The talent is there. We’ve got to get him right. If we can get him back to where he was when he was pitching for us last night he was good. He had a big time year for us. He was my big surprise last year. I think we can get him back there. Really.”

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