WASHINGTON -- The Phillies’ reconfigured bullpen added another arm for Friday’s game at Nationals Park when right-hander Michael Stutes joined the club.
For Stutes, who missed most of the 2012 season while recovering from shoulder surgery, the return to the big leagues might have seemed like it took forever. After opening the season at Triple A Lehigh Valley where he posted a 3.33 ERA in 20 games covering 27 innings, Stutes got enough work under his belt to earn the call up.
Given that the Phillies’ middle relievers have struggled this season, Stutes’ effectiveness at Triple A was enough. Over his last 10 games, Stutes allowed one run in 14 1/3 innings with 14 strikeouts. He also gave up just three walks and eight hits over that span and picked up a five-out save against Norfolk last Friday.
Looks like Stutes has his strength back.
“This is my first time coming off an injury, first time being injured, so I don’t know of the difference if you go right back to where you were or take a step back and try to work your way back to where you were,” Stutes said before Friday’s game against the Nationals. “I don’t have anything to base that on. I feel like I’m in a good place now, so hopefully whatever steps I took I’m ready to go now.”
Stutes returns with strong command of his fastball and a reworked slider. In fact, Triple A manager Dave Brundage said Stutes’ stuff was “sneaky.” As a reliever Stutes hasn’t been overpowering, but he’s been very difficult to hit.
Could Stutes’ effectiveness for Lehigh Valley be from his slider?
“I changed my grip on it,” Stutes said. “It has a slightly different spin out of my hand. It should be back up to where it was, being more around 85-ish [mph], instead of down toward 77, which is where it was toward the end of 2011. That’s not really keeping them honest. That’s not really doing anything for us, me throwing at 77.”
Stutes said he hasn’t been told anything about his role with the Phillies. However, one can make the assumption that he will get some of the innings that Raul Valdes and Phillippe Aumont had before they were sent back to Triple A.
Adams to return Sunday
Set-up man Mike Adams will join the Phillies for Sunday’s game when he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.
The right-hander had been out with a mild strain in the middle of his back suffered during batting practice in Arizona on May 10.
According to assistant general manager Scott Proefrock, Adams threw a bullpen session for pitching coach Rich Dubee on Wednesday and threw again on Friday.
In 17 outings this season, Adams has a 3.00 ERA. He's struck out 19 and walked six in 15 innings. Thirteen of his 17 outings have been scoreless.