Ethan Martin, who the Phillies called up on Thursday, was 11-5 with a 4.21 ERA in 21 starts at Lehigh Valley this season. (AP)
From Jonathan Pettibone to Darin Ruf, Justin De Fratus and Cody Asche, Ethan Martin had seen a number of his Lehigh Valley teammates receive promotions to the Phillies this season.
“It’s fun watching them fulfill their dreams,” Martin said. “You kind of want to join them.”
Consider it done.
The Phillies on Thursday brought up Martin from Triple A. The hard-throwing, 24-year-old right-hander will make his major-league debut Friday night against the Atlanta Braves. It appears to be just a spot start as the Phillies deal with some health issues -- with Pettibone and Cliff Lee -- in their rotation.
“We definitely want to get our pitching arranged by the first of next week,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
Martin was raised about 75 minutes from Atlanta and attended many Braves games as a kid. During a trip to Philadelphia last winter, he talked about how thrilling it would be to pitch against the Braves some day.
Some day arrives Friday night when he goes against Braves’ right-hander Kris Medlen.
“It’s crazy,” Martin said of the coincidence.
Martin became the first high school pitcher selected in the 2008 draft when the Los Angeles Dodgers plucked him with the 15th overall pick. He was dealt to the Phillies a year ago for Shane Victorino. He was 11-5 with a 4.21 ERA in 21 starts at Lehigh Valley this season. In 115 2/3 innings, he allowed 94 hits, struck out 107 and walked 67.
Martin is a hot hand. He had allowed just one earned run over 18 1/3 innings in his last three starts for Lehigh Valley. He has allowed just 10 hits in that span. He has 20 strikeouts in his last three starts, but nine walks.
Martin clearly was in the Phillies’ future plans, but the question remains: Why did the organization bring him up now?
“We wanted to pitch him,” Manuel said. “We wanted to see him, see where he’s at.”
There might be more to it than that.
The Phillies have not named starting pitchers for Saturday or Sunday.
Lee, who missed his last start with a sore neck, threw in the bullpen on Thursday and later said he would probably start on Sunday if he continued to feel good.
So who will start on Saturday? One would figure Pettibone would get the nod, but the right-hander appears to be in limbo because he is being treated for “some arm fatigue,” according to a source.
Pettibone last pitched on Sunday in Detroit. He allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out just one in five innings. Maybe he’ll be ready to pitch with an extra day of rest on Saturday. Maybe he won’t. Or maybe the Phillies could use Lee on Saturday and gain and extra day to evaluate Pettibone. It's all up in the air at this point.
So there might be more than meets the eye to Martin’s promotion. That won’t dampen Martin’s enthusiasm. His family is flying in from Atlanta for the game.
Regardless of how long Martin is here, “I want to show them what I’ve got and prove to them that I can be here for however long they need me and put that in the back of their heads in case they ever need someone else.”