PORT CHARLOTTE – Charlie Manuel threw down the gauntlet Friday.
It’s time for some of the Phillies’ young relievers to start dealing.
“With the talent that’s here we have a chance to have a big bullpen,” Manuel said after Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Rays. “But at the same time, the talent has to produce.
“Mike Adams is throwing good. The rest of them have to pick it up, put more on the ball and throw strikes.”
This seemed to be an odd time for Manuel to challenge his bullpen. Yes, Justin De Fratus allowed a solo homer in two innings of work, but he didn’t pitch badly. Lefties Antonio Bastardo and Jeremy Horst both pitched a hitless, scoreless inning. The Rays won the game on a two-run homer by Stephen Vogt off minor-leaguer Jay Johnson in the 10th.
The Phils are likely to open the season with seven relievers. Heading into the final 2 1/2 weeks of camp, four pitchers are assured jobs in the Phillies’ bullpen: Jonathan Papelbon, Adams, Bastardo and Chad Durbin. Horst and Phillippe Aumont both seem to have an inside track on jobs, but nothing is assured. De Fratus, Mike Stutes, Jake Diekman, Raul Valdes, Aaron Cook and Rodrigo Lopez are also vying for jobs.
Horst and Stutes have had three straight scoreless outings and De Fratus was up to five straight scoreless innings before allowing the solo homer Friday.
Manuel wants more.
“It’s not always the scoreless innings,” he said. “It’s how you get there.”
Michael Young had a strong game at third base. He recorded four assists.
Ben Revere and Kevin Frandsen both had bunt hits. The Phils only had four hits in the game. Tampa Bay lefty Matt Moore allowed just one unearned run in five innings. The Phils’ John Lannan pitched five scoreless innings (see story).
Raul Valdes will start against the Yankees at noon Saturday in Tampa. Cole Hamels will pitch in a minor-league game in Clearwater at 1 p.m.