Results tagged ‘ Justin De Fratus ’

De Fratus ‘Not Doing Job’ Sent to Triple-A

Justin De FratusOne of the reasons the Phillies optioned right-hander Justin De Fratus to Triple-A Lehigh Valley today is because they needed a fresh arm in the bullpen following a busy weekend.

They recalled right-hander Luis Garcia from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his place. But Garcia’s stint could be short. The Phillies are expected to activate right-hander Mike Adams from the 15-day disabled list tomorrow and Garcia seems to be the most likely candidate to make room for him on the 25-man roster.

But De Fratus also carried a 7.20 ERA following four appearances. He allowed five hits, four runs, one walk, two home runs and struck out two in five innings. The Phillies are struggling to find competent right-handers in the bullpen. Early this season Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has leaned heavily on left-handers Jake Diekman, Antonio Bastardo and Mario Hollands, routinely pitching them in high-leverage situations.

“I’m not doing my job, straight up,” De Fratus said. “I’m just not doing my job. I’ve got to get the ball down. That’s all it is. It’s not walking people. I’m trying to challenge people and I’m getting beat. That’s it. I’ve just got to get that fastball down, and that’s what I’m going to work on. It really is a simple solution.

“I don’t want it, but I need the time to straighten some things out because something has gone awry in the last couple years that’s not allowing me to get the ball down. I’ve got to find out what it is.”

Adams, who is recovering from right shoulder surgery, allowed two hits, one run and struck out one in one inning last night in a rehab appearance with Triple-A.

“Overall it went all right,” Adams said. “Health-wise it was OK. Today I feel fine. That’s the most important thing. It’s their decision (about Monday). I’m going to play catch today and we’ll talk after that.”

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.”

Aumont? De Fratus? Cloyd? September Call Ups

MLB.com’s Jake Kaplan took a look yesterday at some of the potential September call-ups for the Phillies.

Read his story here.

I think of the guys currently on the 40-man roster Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman and Joe Savery are the most likely to be called up next month. De Fratus certainly would have been with the Phillies this season, but he had an elbow injury. He is back and throwing well. Aumont is dominant when he throws strikes. The Phillies want to get a look at him. Of course, Diekman and Savery have been with the team this season. The Phillies like Diekman a lot, but they will like him a lot more if he improves his command.

I only see Sebastian Valle coming up if Carlos Ruiz finishes the season on the DL.

Not sure Cesar Hernandez gets called up.

Tyler Cloyd? This is the guy I hear about constantly on Twitter and e-mail. Cloyd, who isn’t on the 40-man roster, is 11-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 19 starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He’s been great all season, but it’s safe to say the Phillies and other talent evaluators in baseball aren’t as enamored with Cloyd as fans are. I haven’t heard of any teams beating down the Phillies’ door to acquire him, and MLB.com doesn’t list Cloyd among the organization’s top 20 prospects. (That list is compiled through interviews with numerous baseball personnel people.)

Why isn’t Cloyd a top prospect? Simply put, he doesn’t have great stuff. He throws in the 85-89 mph range, which means he has to have pinpoint command to be successful. The Phillies must not believe his abilities to get out Triple-A hitters will translate to the big leagues. It’s the only way to explain why they chose a bullpen game over pitching him June 27. (I still maintain that was a mistake. Maybe Cloyd catches lightning in a bottle for one night. Raul Valdes and the rest of the bullpen were struggling at the time. Almost everybody in the park knew what would happen, and it did.)

Charlie Manuel said Wednesday he wasn’t sure if Kyle Kendrick would make his next start, but he quickly added he didn’t think he had too many other options. I’m really not sure which way the Phillies will go. But you can make a case for Cloyd to get a shot. I mean, maybe he can get out big-league hitters. Besides, what have you got to lose? If he makes a few starts in September, he struggles and the Phillies lose, so what? At least you know for sure. But if he comes up and does well … hey, isn’t that a nice little surprise? Maybe then he’s in the mix next season to get a spot start here or there.

Talent evaluation in baseball isn’t an exact science. If it were the Dodgers would have never let Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth go, Chase Utley wouldn’t have lasted until the 15th pick in the 2000 draft, Ryan Howard wouldn’t have lasted until the fifth round in 2001, Cole Hamels wouldn’t have lasted until the 17th pick in 2002, Juan Pierre wouldn’t have waited until late January to sign a Minor League contract, the Phillies wouldn’t have let Ryan Vogelsong and Jason Grilli go, they would have promoted Brandon Moss last season instead of trading for John Bowker and they wouldn’t have entered the previous two seasons betting on Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. to be everyday players.

Every team has their hits and misses in player evaluation. That’s just the way it is.

One thing to keep in mind: Minor League numbers don’t mean everything. And sometimes they don’t mean anything. Fans thought the Phillies were crazy for not promoting Matt Rizzotti the last couple years. The Phillies traded him to the Twins in March, and the Twins released him a short time later. He’s now with the A’s. I remember Joe Roa went 14-0 with a 1.86 ERA in 17 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2002. Fans had a similar reaction then. How can they not call up Roa? The Phillies finally did. Roa went 4-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 14 appearances (11 starts) in 2002, but he returned to earth and went 0-2 with a 6.05 ERA in six appearances in 2003 before the Phillies released him.

Maybe Cloyd is a younger version of Roa. Or maybe he’s a guy that can be a good option as a fifth starter. The only way to find out is by pitching him. Maybe the Phillies will give him that chance before the end of the season.

Howard, Utley Injury Updates (And More!!!!!)

Got injury updates for you:

  • Ryan Howard. He visited a wound specialist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital today. “His wound is still healing,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He’s doing well. We’re continuing the same deal.” There is no timetable for Howard’s return. “The biggest challenge was for the wound to get to the skin from how deep it was,” Amaro said. “It’s getting there. It’s getting pretty close. … The question is when does he start doing stuff so it doesn’t compromise the healing process? We’re still on hold as far as that is concerned. Hopefully we’ll know more in the next couple of days.”
  • Chase Utley. Utley, who is sidelined because of a chronically injured left knee, continues to rehab in Phoenix. He is expected to rejoin the team next week, when the Phillies travel to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks. “His strength seems to be improving,” Amaro said. “He’s moving forward.” There is no timetable for Utley’s return.
  • Michael Martinez. Martinez has a fractured right foot. He will be in a walking boot for another two weeks, when team physician Michael Ciccotti will evaluate him.
  • Justin De Fratus. He is rehabbing from a sprained right elbow, and could pitch in an extended Spring Training game Thursday. He could begin a rehab assignment shortly after that. “He’s making very good progress,” Amaro said.

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  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

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Injury Updates on Lee, Howard, Contreras and De Fratus

Ruben Amaro Jr. had a few injury updates this morning at Carpenter Complex, where the Phillies are holding their first full squad workout:

  • Cliff Lee. He missed a scheduled bullpen session yesterday, but Amaro said he is fine. Lee has “midsection soreness.” “But it’s really minimal,” Amaro said. “I’m not worried about Cliff.”
  • Ryan Howard. There is some thought Howard could be back before May, although it seems unlikely. Amaro said, “I don’t know how realistic it is. We all like to try to be optimistic. But as far as I’m concerned, if he comes back sometime in May, I’m happy. Ryan’s rehab is going well. He’s going to have good days. He’s going to have some not-so-good days. But he’s doing well, and that’s all we can ask. It’s a process we’ll let play out. We’re not in any rush to get him back.”
  • Jose Contreras. He threw a bullpen session this morning and the Phillies were “very encouraged.” Amaro said, “More importantly, he was encouraged, and that’s real important. Once you go through a surgery and you’re throwing, there’s always some tentativeness there. And so I think he had a really good demeanor when he walked off the mound. That’s a very, very good step for him.”
  • Justin De Fratus. He has some soreness in his right elbow. The Phillies are shutting him down for at least a week. Team physician Michael Ciccotti will examine him at some point. “We’re just trying to be conservative with him,” Amaro said. De Fratus first started feeling some tightness in his elbow in January. It hasn’t improved.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!

The Number Shuffle

If you have any interest about the numbers on the back of the Phillies’ uniforms …

We know Jonathan Papelbon‘s alter ego “Cinco Ocho” is based on the No. 58 on the back of his jersey.

But when he came to Philadelphia he knew Antonio Bastardo had the number. No big deal. Papelbon and Bastardo have the same agents, so Bastardo had no problem handing his number to the Phillies’ new closer. (Papelbon gave Bastardo a Rolex for the effort.) Of course, then Bastardo needed a new number. Phillies director of team travel and clubhouse services Frank Coppenbarger gave Bastardo a few options, and Bastardo finally settled on No. 37.

Now, Justin De Fratus wore No. 37 the final couple weeks of the 2011 season. But that’s not enough service time to keep it, so he handed the number to Bastardo. Not that he minded. Because when Coppenbarger started to rattle off a few numbers for De Fratus, he blurted out, “How about 79?”

“Are you serious?” Coppenbarger said.

“Yeah,” De Fratus replied. “I wore it in the (Arizona) Fall League (in 2010).”

Coppenbarger said he had no problem with that. In fact, he liked it because De Fratus will never have to worry about any player asking him for his number ever again. But he also made sure De Fratus really wanted it. Coppenbarger said, “Hey, if you pick this you’ve got to stick with it. If your teammates start giving you a hard time you can’t start switching around.” De Fratus said he wanted it.

So he’s got it.

And that’s how Papelbon got 58, Bastardo got 37 and De Fratus got 79.

“I wore it in the Fall League and I had a good Fall League,” De Fratus said. “So why not?”

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From Sunday in Clearwater:

Magic Number: 1

It doesn’t take a genius to know Charlie Manuel is worried about the offense.

The Phillies could have clinched the NL East last night, but failed to take advantage in a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in 11 innings. Asked how frustrated he was about that, he said, “We didn’t do enough hitting tonight to get there.” That’s what we call reading between the lines. Manuel was asked how frustrated he was to have to wait another night, and he answered a question about the offense.

The Phillies have averaged 2.0 runs per game in their last eight games (Sept. 10-16), which ranks last in the National League. They’re hitting .205 (last) with a .261 on-base percentage (last) and a .324 slugging percentage (14th). This is not the best time to get into a team-wide slump, considering a lack of offense cost them in last year’s NLCS. But the Phillies have not had their projected everyday lineup together since Aug. 6 in San Francisco. And lately, they have been without Jimmy Rollins, who has missed time with a strained groin; Chase Utley, who missed time with a concussion; and Ryan Howard, who has not started four of the last 10 games because of bursitis in his left Achilles.

Maybe that has something to do with it. I’m sure Manuel hopes that’s the case.

The offense has been a tale of two halves:

  • April – June: 4.01 runs per game (eighth in the league), .244 average (10th), .318 OBP (seventh) and .374 slugging (11th).
  • July – Sept. 9: 5.41 runs per game (first), .269 average (second), .337 OBP (second) and .439 slugging (first).

Are they turning back the clock at the wrong time?

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Keep an eye on Justin De Fratus and Joe Savery, who were called up last night. The Phillies’ bullpen has been a little rocky lately, so maybe they could pitch themselves onto the postseason roster. Savery is especially interesting because of Antonio Bastardo‘s recent struggles. Bastardo is the only left-hander in the bullpen, so if he is scuffling the Phillies might have to consider Savery as a second option.

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Sad news: KYW’s Jack O’Rourke died last night after covering the Phillies game. A very, very nice man. He covered every spring training since I’ve been on the beat, which is how I will remember him — getting interviews from players in Clearwater and returning to one of the radio booths in the press box to send sound back to Philadephia. He always had a smile on his face and always greeted me the same way:

“What’s up, Jack?”

“Hi, Toddy.”

He was the only person to call me that. Thoughts and prayers with his family. He will be missed.

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MLB.com’s Top 10 Phillies Prospects

I wanted to post this last weekend, but things are crazy the final few days of Spring Training. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo recently wrote about his top 10 Phillies prospects.

Here they are:

  1. Domonic Brown, OF
  2. Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF
  3. Jarred Cosart, RHP
  4. Brody Colvin, RHP
  5. Sebastian Valle, C
  6. Jesse Biddle, LHP
  7. Trevor May, RHP
  8. Aaron Altherr, OF
  9. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
  10. Justin De Fratus, RHP

Click here for the full report.

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Amaro Close to Deal, Phillies Make First Cuts

The Phillies locked up Charlie Manuel through 2013 when he signed a two-year contract extension yesterday.

Ruben Amaro Jr. is next.

Sources indicated today the Phillies and Amaro are close to a multiyear extension. An announcement could come in the next couple days.

Amaro, 46, replaced Pat Gillick as general manager following the 2008 World Series championship. He previously served as assistant general manager for 10 years under Ed Wade and Gillick.

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The Phillies made their first Spring Training roster moves today, optioning or reassigning 16 players to Minor League camp.

The number quickly dropped to 15 when the Phillies reassigned Robb Quinlan and his agent asked for his release. The Phillies granted it.

The Phillies also reassigned right-handers Brian Bass, Eddie Bonine, Andrew Carpenter and Michael Schwimer; left-hander Ryan Feierabend; catcher Joel Naughton; infielders Tagg Bozied and Quinlan; and outfielder Matt Miller.

The Phillies optioned seven players to Minor League camp: right-handers Justin De Fratus, Drew Naylor and J.C. Ramirez; infielders Harold Garcia, Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Rivero and Matt Rizzotti.

The Phillies are taking a little longer look at right-hander Michael Stutes, who has pitched well this spring. He has a 1.50 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances. Opponents have hit .143 against him. The only other non-roster invitees still in big-league camp are left-handers Dan Meyer and Juan Perez. Meyer has a .600 ERA in three appearances, although opponents have hit .182 against him. Perez has a 3.00 ERA in three appearances, and opponents have hit just .077 against him.

The Phillies are looking for a second left-hander to pitch in the bullpen. They currently only have J.C. Romero.

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Phillies Add Grilli

The Phillies added another arm to their system with an agreement to a Minor League contract with right-hander Jason Grilli.

Grilli wrote Sunday on his Twitter account (@grillcheese49): “This Italian Stallion is FIRED UP about the City of Brother Love! Balboa workouts paid off and READY TO GO!!!”

Grilli is 18-18 with a 4.74 ERA in 238 appearances over eight seasons in the big leagues. He last pitched with the Colorado Rockies and Texas Rangers in 2009, when he went a combined 2-3 with a 5.32 ERA in 52 appearances. He did not pitch last year because of a knee injury.

Grilli will not be in big-league camp, which begins Feb. 14 in Clearwater, Fla. He will be in Minor League camp.

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Some contract details:

  • Kyle Kendrick. One-year, $2.45 million contract. Awards bonuses: $25,000 for All Star; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for LCS MVP; $50,000 for Cy Young or Rolaids ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd).
  • Ben Francisco. One-year, $1.175 million contract. Performance bonuses: $25,000 for 400 plate appearances; $25,000 for 450 plate appearances; $25,000 for 500 plate appearances. Awards bonuses: $25,000 for All Star; $50,000 for MVP ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd); $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for LCS MVP; $25,000 for Gold Glove; and $25,000 for Silver Slugger.
  • Justin De Fratus. $33,600 in Minors; $414,000 in Majors.

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