Results tagged ‘ Antonio Bastardo ’

Bullpen Help Needed?


escalona 2.jpgJ.C. Romero
might miss just one week of the season, but if the first two weeks of Spring Training are any indication it might be a rough one.

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.

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Romero Unlikely for Opening Day, Shooting for First Homestand


romero softball.jpgJ.C. Romero
said he feels fine, but he also said he has just one chance to do this right.

So he said this morning at Bright House Field that he does not expect to be ready by Opening Day on April 5 in Washington. Instead, he said he hopes to join the team for its first home series April 12-15 against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

Romero’s likely absence from the Opening Day roster means there are at least two jobs available in the bullpen — three, if Brad Lidge also is not ready. But no Romero certainly gives an advantage to left-handers like Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona and Mike Zagurski because the Phillies have no other left-handers in the bullpen.

“Everything is moving in the right direction,” Romero said. “But to be realistic, I know I want to break camp with the team, but I realize the time is against me. That’s not good, but I’m very optimistic about being with the team by the first homestand. I think they can deal without me for the first road trip. And that’s better for the team.”

And for himself.

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Brown, Gillies, Ramirez and Bastardo …

The Blue Jays spanked the Phillies today at Dunedin Stadium, 14-9, but a few Phillies prospects made their mark:

- Domonic Brown, the organization’s top prospect, went 2 for 4 with one double and two RBIs. He also threw out a runner at the plate in the sixth inning. Brown tried to stretch his double into a triple in the seventh, but was thrown out after a head first slide.

“I made a couple adjustments early on after my first couple at-bats,” Brown said. “I was trying to do too much. Just settled down after the second at-bat, got some pitches to hit and luckily drove a couple. I feel pretty good. … It’s great for me. If I can hit here (against big league pitching) I should be able to hit anywhere. It’s great competition. It’s hard work, man. I’m tired.”

Brown said he would not have tried to stretch his double into a triple during the regular season, but he thought he would be aggressive.

“I was trying to test it out,” he said.

- Tyson Gillies hit a solo homer to right field in the sixth inning. He literally sprinted around the bases.

“Oh, man,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “Wow. He was in the B game today (at Bright House Field). Throwing, he can throw, too. He’s got a good arm. A good looking player. A very good looking player. I like him a lot. … He’s got a lean, too. That means he can really get around those bases. He’s leaning the right way. Inside lean. That’ll get you around there quick.”

Gillies is becoming known in camp for his high motor. He’s always running somewhere, which is why Manuel memorably said that Gillies “takes shagging to another level.” Does Gillies do anything slow?

“That’s a question that everybody asks me,” Gillies said. “I try. Honestly, I try to slow things down. The last few days of hitting that was something that was really getting me down, being too quick. Wanting everything now and being impatient. Trying to slow things down and knowing when I should use my speed.”

So home trots are a time to use his speed?

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I’m not going to hit a lot of home runs, so I’m not going to do the whole slow pace around them. Quickly score the run and move forward.”

- J.C. Ramirez, who joined Gillies and Phillippe Aumont in the Cliff Lee trade, allowed four hits, five runs (four earned runs) and three walks in just 1 1/3 innings. “His command was off,” Charlie Manuel said. “He was a little wild. He’ll get more work. We’ll see.”

- Antonio Bastardo struck out two in a perfect eighth inning. “Bastardo pitched a good clean inning,” Manuel said. “He threw some good pitches. He threw a good fastball and threw a couple good breaking balls. He had a good inning.”

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Baez Agrees to Two-Year Deal

baez.jpgSources said today the Phillies had agreed to a two-year contract with right-hander Danys Baez, pending a physical. That physical is expected next week.

Baez, 32, went 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 59 appearances last season with the Baltimore Orioles. He has 114 career saves, including a career-high 41 saves for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005. He was 0-6 with a 6.44 ERA in 53 appearances with the Orioles in 2008.

The Phillies have been looking for bullpen help since the 2009 season ended. Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin are the only locks for the 2010 bullpen, but both Lidge and Romero are recovering from elbow surgeries. Ruben Amaro Jr. said there is a chance they might not be ready to start the season.

Baez’s arrival at least gives Charlie Manuel, who had Baez in Cleveland from 2001-02, another ninth-inning option should Lidge not be ready.

Baez’s arrival also means free-agent right-hander Chan Ho Park will not be back.

Amaro, who has been unavailable for comment, said recently that once the Phillies sign a free-agent reliever they might have youngsters like Antonio Bastardo and Sergio Escalona take the remaining jobs in the bullpen. The Phillies have been interested in bringing back Scott Eyre, but a source said the Phillies have offered him only a Minor League contract and have held firm in their offer. Eyre, who was 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 61 appearances since he arrived in a trade with the Chicago Cubs in Aug. 2008, made $2 million last season.

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Park, Eyre, Blanton and More

The Phillies continue to talk with Chan Ho Park‘s people and Scott Eyre‘s people about possible returns, but there seems to have been little progress. In fact, Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies probably would not make any deals before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

Stalemate?

“It depends what you mean by stalemate,” Amaro said today. “We’re comfortable with the numbers we’ve presented, and if those are numbers that won’t really get it done then we might have to go ahead and move on. I’m sure they’re trying to maximize the value, which is the job of the agent. If they feel like there’s a better opportunity to make more money or to be in a different situation then they’re going to take it. … We’re still talking.”

But Amaro said the meetings have been productive. He already had meet with three or four teams earlier today and is scheduled to see two or three more before the end of the day. They might not be able to hammer out something before Thursday, but he sounds happy with the groundwork he has laid going forward.

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One source said today that Joe Blanton “is on the market, by the way.” Trading Blanton would weaken the rotation, and the Phillies don’t have a lot of depth to replace him. So why is he available?

“They want to get a big bullpen piece,” the source said.

Amaro has said the Phillies are most likely to add bullpen pieces via free agency. That would seem to make the most sense, unless they can get a real stud — which could be beneficial should Brad Lidge carry his 2009 struggles into 2010.

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Amaro said if the Phillies can’t get the veteran pitchers they want for the bullpen, they might have to go young. Candidates include left-handers Sergio Escalona and Antonio Bastardo and right-hander Scott Mathieson.

“You’d like to have guys who are veterans,” Amaro said. “Guys who have been through the wars, and have dealt with the adversity. In a perfect world you’d have young starters and have veteran-type relievers. But that’s just a perfect world. We have more young players in our bullpen this year. We’ll probably start off with (Kyle) Kendrick as a guy who will be pitching and fighting for a job in the rotation, but if he doesn’t make the rotation maybe he’ll be pushed into the bullpen.”

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A report earlier today had the Phillies interested in Cuban pitcher Ardolis Chapman, but a team source said the Phillies are not interested.

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Day 1 in Indy

A few more things from the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis:

  • Ruben Amaro Jr. said there is a chance Brad Lige and J.C. Romero will not be ready by Opening Day — they are recovering from elbow surgeries – although he said if they are not ready, it won’t be long after the season starts.
  • Amaro said he is more likely to fill holes on the pitching staff and bench via free agency, although he said the Phillies could get creative and work a trade.
  • Amaro declined comment on a rumor that the Phillies have made right-hander Joe Blanton available to trade to free up money to improve the bullpen, but it seems unlikely Amaro would trade pitching to get pitching. “I’m sure I would at some point,” he said. “It’s kind of like robbing Peter to trade Paul, but if you think Paul is better than Peter than it’s worth it.”
  • Amaro also said he doesn’t “want to mess with our rotation as it stands. But it doesn’t mean we have to make that a hard and fast rule,” he said. “I think it’s more about keeping the options as open as possible. … I’ll put our rotation as it stands up there with pretty much anybody in the National League. The better your rotation is the more heat you can take off the bullpen. I think that’s probably the best way to get a more predictable bullpen.”
  • It sounds to me like Chan Ho Park is the team’s top priority in the bullpen. Amaro met with Park’s agent Jeff Borris on Monday.
  • The Phillies have continued interest in left-hander Scott Eyre, although Amaro said he would be comfortable with rookie left-handers Antonio Bastardo or Sergio Escalona in the bullpen next season.
  • The Phillies have been linked to right-hander Brandon Lyon, but one source said Monday the asking price for Lyon remains high.
  • The Phillies already have committed $114.2 million committed to 15 players in 2010. Include the expected raises for Blanton, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey and the payroll pushes to more than $130 million. That leaves the Phillies with just a few million to spend. “I think we’re going to be just fine with our payroll,” Amaro said. “I don’t think it’s going to change much. We have our limitations. We’re going to be pushing $140 million. It is what it is. It’s my job to figure out a way to make sure this a contending team.”
  • The Phillies have until Dec. 12 to offer contracts to Durbin and Condrey, who are eligible for salary arbitration. Amaro said the Phillies haven’t made a final decision, but “as far as I’m concerned, at least right now, these are guys that we’ll probably count on. But again, a lot of it kind of depends on what happens over these next several days in regards to the other free agents that might be out there.”
  • The Phillies have expressed interest in Brian Giles, although it doesn’t appear talks are serious. “We’ve talked about it a little bit,” said Giles’ agent, Joe Bick. “Philly needs to try to find Brian a spot where there might be more playing time, but it’s certainly something we’ll keep the door open on.”

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How Will the Rotation Look?

Thumbnail image for lee b 1007.jpgHow would you set up the Phillies’ World Series rotation?

Charlie Manuel said earlier today he would discuss that with Rich Dubee, Ruben Amaro Jr. and others this weekend. I would not expect the Phillies to make an official announcement anytime soon, but it’s obvious that Cliff Lee will start Game 1. I would start Cole Hamels in Game 2, despite his recent struggles. As much as he has struggled — he is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts this postseason — he still has one of the two best arms in the rotation. He was one botched double play from allowing one run through five innings in Game 1 of the NLCS. He allowed three solo homers in Game 5, but he wasn’t getting knocked around the ballpark (i.e. walking people and giving up four or five hits an inning). I still take my chances with him on the road.

I know everybody would like to see Pedro Martinez pitch Game 2 at Yankee Stadium, but I’d rather have him pitch Game 3 at home. Martinez went 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in five starts at home this season. He went 3-1 with a 5.66 ERA in four starts on the road, not including the seven shutout innings he threw in Game 2 of the NLCS. Martinez also is 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in his last five postseason appearances against the Yankees. I’d rather have Martinez pitching in front of the home crowd in a place he has been more successful than in a place where he will be hearing “Who’s your daddy?” chants.

Manuel said he more than likely will use right-hander Joe Blanton and left-hander J.A. Happ in the bullpen to start the series, but either of the could start Game 4. The Yankees have an .846 OPS against left-handers and an .837 OPS against right-handers. The Angels have a .793 OPS against right-handers and a .788 OPS against left-handers. Maybe they go with Blanton against the Yankees and Happ against the Angels, although Blanton is 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees and is 3-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 15 appearances against the Angels. Happ allowed four hits and two runs in six innings May 23 in a 5-4 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He has never faced the Angels.

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Lee said he would be willing to pitch on short rest, but I only see that happening if the Phillies drop their first two games and they get into desperation mode.

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Amaro said there remains a chance somebody like Brett Myers could make the postseason roster. Who would they bump? Left-hander Antonio Bastardo has faced just two batters this postseason. Maybe they go elsewhere.

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The Roster: Who's In, Who's Out?

Thumbnail image for bruntlett 0823.jpgThe Phillies announced their 25-man postseason roster:

Tyler Walker, Clay Condrey and Eric Bruntlett are NOT on the roster.

Kyle Kendrick, Miguel Cairo and Antonio Bastardo ARE on the roster.

The roster is:

CATCHERS (2): Carlos Ruiz, Paul Bako.
INFIELDERS (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Dobbs, Cairo.
OUTFIELD (5): Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco, Matt Stairs.
PITCHERS (12): Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, Pedro Martinez, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Brett Myers, Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin, Kendrick, Bastardo.

I’m actually surprised Bruntlett isn’t on the roster, despite the fact he hit just .171. Why? Because Bruntlett is a pretty good base runner and can play everywhere in the field. He also is considered a better shortstop than Cairo, although I suppose if Rollins gets hurt Cairo vs. Bruntlett is probably the least of your concerns. Condrey didn’t surprise me too much because he missed so much time this season. Walker surprised me a bit because he went 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 32 appearances. Kendrick pitched well down the stretch, but I’m wondering how he would be used since the Phillies already are starting the series with Blanton, Happ and Martinez in the bullpen.

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Postseason Roster Takes Shape

taschner 0930.jpgIt took longer than expected, but the regular season finally ended this afternoon when Paul Hoover scored John Mayberry Jr. in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 7-6 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

Onto the postseason …

The Phillies have off tomorrow and will hold a workout Tuesday before Game 1 against the Rockies at 2:37 p.m. Wednesday. (It could be Cole Hamels vs. Ubaldo Jimenez.) But there will be meetings and discussions about the postseason roster in the meantime. The Phillies do not need to submit their 25-man roster until 10 a.m. Wednesday, but there were clues and answers about it after the game:

  • Charlie Manuel said he might not take 12 pitchers. “I might go with 11,” he said. “I don’t know yet.”
  • Manuel could be thinking about 11 pitchers because Miguel Cairo has been playing well. He went 2-for-4 with a triple, home run and one RBI yesterday. He has hit .357 (10-for-28) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and two RBIs since he rejoined the team Aug. 29.
  • But before you start thinking Cairo could bump Eric Bruntlett, Manuel said he finds value in Bruntlett because he can play everywhere in the field, especially the outfield. The Phillies also consider him a better shortstop than Cairo. He can run, too. Bruntlett scored the winning runs in Games 3 and 5 of the World Series. I don’t think it’s Bruntlett or Cairo. I think it’s Bruntlett and maybe Cairo, although I have been surprised before.
  • Manuel sounds like he likes left-hander J.A. Happ in the rotation because the Rockies have a lineup loaded with left-handers. Happ shutout the Rockies in August, which helps his cause. But the Phillies also might need Happ in the bullpen because Scott Eyre looks like the only other lefty in the pen. “I always have looked at (Happ) as a starter and his success this year has been as a starter,” Manuel said. “I’m not ready to reveal what we’re going to do yet because I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do.”
  • Left-hander Jack Taschner quietly cleaned out his locker. The Phillies told him he would not be needed. Taschner was not surprised, but was upset nonetheless. He went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in 24 appearances. The Phillies designated him for assignment earlier this season. He asked for his release, but the Phillies did not grant it. He pitched in the Minors and rejoined the team last week after suffering a back injury. He pitched just once. Taschner is salary arbitration eligible, but does not expect to be back next season. “I’m not going to say anything,” he told me. “What is done is done.” Ruben Amaro Jr. later told me, “As far as his future here, we haven’t made any decisions. It was a tough year for him. Frankly, I think because he struggled earlier in the year, it was one of the reasons why he didn’t pitch a lot because he didn’t perform at the level we would have liked. He was caught in a Catch 22. He didn’t pitch a lot, and when he did he wasn’t as effective. I like Jack a lot.” Taschner changed his mechanics in the Minors, which Amaro said could prove beneficial next season. If he is back.
  • Amaro also said while Taschner’s season is over, the Phillies have sent left-hander Sergio Escalona and Mayberry to Clearwater, Fla., to play in case they are needed.
  • Before Taschner cleared out his locker and before Amaro said Escalona was headed to Clearwater, Manuel said it would be tough to put Taschner, Escalona and left-hander Antonio Bastardo into big-game situations. I would surprised to see Bastardo to make the roster based simply off what Manuel said. “It’s kind of hard to put a young kid in there,” he said.
  • He said Brett Myers is ready to pitch in short bursts, but not multiple innings. Myers pronounced himself ready to go in back-to-back games. I expect him to be on the roster.
  • With Taschner, Escalona and most likely Bastardo out, that would leave Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Eyre, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Myers, Tyler Walker and Happ/Pedro Martinez as bullpen candidates.

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Games 1 and 2 will be played at 2:37 p.m., which was not unexpected. Game 2 in Colorado will start at 9:37 p.m.

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Getting Some Postseason Flexibility

ennis.jpgThe Phillies made a roster move today that offers them flexibility in the postseason.

They purchased the contract of injured right-hander John Ennis and immediately placed him on the 15-day disabled list. To make room for Ennis on the 40-man roster, they designated infielder Brad Harman for assignment.

Here is why they did it: Any player who is on the active 25-man roster or disabled list on Aug. 31 is eligible for the postseason. In this case, the Phillies have 31 players eligible for the postseason because Brett Myers, J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey, Greg Dobbs, Antonio Bastardo and Ennis are on the disabled list.

Myers, Romero, Condrey, Dobbs and Bastardo are expected to be healthy and playing before the end of the regular season. Ennis is recovering from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery April 21. He won’t be healthy. But his presence on the DL allows the Phillies to add any player that is in the organization on Aug. 31 to the postseason roster.

That is how left-hander J.A. Happ made the postseason roster last year. Pitchers Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagruski were on the 60-day disabled list, which allowed the Phillies to take Happ, who was a September call up.

Ennis certainly doesn’t mind. He is now making a big-league salary and earning service time for just sitting on the DL for the rest of the season. Not bad.

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Myers is expected to make rehab appearances Tuesday and Wednesday for Triple A Lehigh Valley. If they go well, he could join the Phillies bullpen before the end of the week.

Condrey and Bastardo both made rehab appearances Monday for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies. Condrey allowed one hit and struck out one in one scoreless inning. Bastardo walked one in one scoreless inning.

Dobbs continues to rehab in Clearwater, Fla., and Romero could throw a bullpen session with the Phillies on Tuesday.

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