Ken Giles completes quick ascent to Phillies

Ken Giles completes quick ascent to Phillies

June 9, 2014, 8:00 am
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Ken Giles struck out nine and walked eight in 13 2/3 innings for the Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. (USA Today Images)

Phillies fans have been calling for it, and the front office put him on the fast track.

But 23-year-old right-handed reliever Ken Giles was caught off guard.

The hard-throwing Giles was summoned to what he believed was a routine meeting Saturday afternoon with IronPigs manager Dave Brundage.

"I was surprised. They caught me completely off guard," Giles said. "They started the meeting by asking me what I learned at Triple A, then told me to get on a flight to Cincinnati."

Giles got the call Saturday when Mike Adams was placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right rotator cuff.

"I got some clothes and called home," Giles said.

The Philles drafted Giles out of Yavapai College in Arizona in the seventh round of the 2011 draft.

Giles, who can throw a baseball 100 miles per hour, completed a quick rise through the ranks to reach the top.

A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, he pitched at Low-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater in 2012.  

He spent all of 2013 at Clearwater hampered by two stints on the disabled list with a strained oblique. After 24 appearances in which he saved six games and forged a 2-2 record despite a 6.31 ERA, Giles pitched for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League and was named to the AFL All-Star team. He earned an invite to major-league spring training before this season.

Giles was promoted to Double A Reading to start the season. In 13 appearances, he struck out 29 batters and walked just five in 15 innings, over which he allowed only two runs (1.20 ERA).

The hype followed Giles to Reading.

"It trickled down pretty fast," he said. "I know what I can do. I'm not perfect. I will get better the more I pitch."

The Phillies promoted him to Triple A Lehigh Valley in May. There, he pitched in 11 games for the IronPigs, compiling nine strikeouts and eight walks in 13 2/3 innings to go with a 2.63 ERA.

Giles felt comfortable in his new surroundings Sunday afternoon.

"The guys welcomed me with open arms," he said. "I'm pretty comfortable here."

The Phillies -- now a season-low 11 games under .500 after Sunday's 4-1 loss -- couldn't hold him in the minors any longer.

'"He was the next in line," manager Ryne Sandberg said.

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