On the Pharm: Time for Phillies to test young arms

On the Pharm: Time for Phillies to test young arms

June 2, 2013, 3:15 pm
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With Chad Durbin’s release last week, the Phillies’ slow makeover of their middle-relief corps took its most significant step.

Gone is a veteran and a link to the World Series winning club from five years ago as the Phillies begin to tap into their minor-league depth. It’s time, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has decided, to test the maturity of the Phillies’ young arms.

Joe Savery was called up for a third time this season when Durbin was released. Meanwhile, Triple-A pitchers Mike Stutes, B.J. Rosenberg, Raul Valdes, Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont have seen action for both the IronPigs and the Phillies this season.

So that’s one way for the Phillies to get younger, huh?

“We have some big arms down there,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.

“There are some guys who are works in progress down there and I’m sure you’ll see them up here by the end of the year. Hopefully they will be closer to finished products.”

That was the hope for Aumont, the 6-foot-7 right-hander with the potential to be a closer one day. Aumont made the Phillies' club out of spring training and was pushed into some heady situations for a reliever with just a month of big-league service time headed into the season. In 16 games, Aumont appeared just once before the seventh inning and 12 times in the eighth or ninth inning.

And though Aumont’s repertoire of pitches played well, his command did not. In 13 innings in the big leagues this season, Aumont had 15 strikeouts and 10 walks. As a result, the big right-hander was sent back to Lehigh Valley to work on those control issues.

“We sent Phillippe Aumont down there to work on his command and to get regular work,” Proefrock said. “He’ll have an outing where he’s lights’ out and then he’ll struggle with his command. Obviously, when we bring those guys up they are going to be thrown into the fire and we want them to be as prepared as they can.”

Though Aumont was thrown into some big situations to set the table for Mike Adams and closer Jonathan Papelbon, it got to the point where manager Charlie Manuel couldn’t use the big guy. Instead, call-up De Fratus took over the roll so Aumont could iron out his issues.

“Unfortunately in Phillippe’s case, we couldn’t get him regular work,” Proefrock said. “There were times when we couldn’t put him in the game in certain circumstances -- or we didn’t have the confidence to put him in the game in certain circumstances where there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room.”

For now, it’s still a work in progress for Aumont. In four outings at Triple A headed into Sunday, Aumont has walked six batters and thrown five wild pitches in just three innings. He’s allowed just two hits and struck out three, but those walks -- and wild pitches -- have been killers.

Dugan and Mecias honored
Single-A prospects Kelly Dugan and Yoel Mecias earned players of the month of May honors for Phils’ minor leaguers on Sunday.

Dugan, 22, a second-round pick in the 2009 draft, batted .314 during May. In 26 games, Dugan reached base 23 times.

This season Dugan is batting .322 with six homers, a .393 on-base percentage and a team-leading .570 slugging percentage.

Mecias, 19, went 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA for Single-A Lakewood. In 30 innings, the 6-foor-2 lefty had 37 strikeouts.

Rosin earns Eastern League award
Double-A Reading starting pitcher Seth Rosin was the Eastern League player of the week after going 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 13 strikeouts in two starts.

Rosin joins lefty Jesse Biddle as the second Reading starting pitcher to win the player-of-the-week award.

Rosin, 24, was acquired from the San Francisco Giants last summer along with catcher Tommy Joseph and outfielder Nate Schierholtz for Hunter Pence. In 11 starts this season, his first working exclusively as a starter, Rosin is 3-3 with a 3.84 ERA. He has 46 strikeouts and 13 walks in 63 innings.

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