We are now 5 games into the 2014 Grapefruit League schedule and there are still plenty of spots up for grabs. With the injuries to Hamels, Adams, Pettibone and Martin, the main competition will be in the back-end of the bullpen. Plus it looks as though several veterans will be pushed by some youngsters for the final few spots on the bench. It should be an excited few weeks in Florida!
Starting Lineup: Revere, Rollins, Utley, Howard, Byrd, Brown, Ruiz, Asche
Bench: Nieves, Frandsen, Galvis, Ruf, Abreu
Starting Rotation: Lee, Burnett, Kendrick, Hernandez
Bullpen: Papelbon, Bastardo, Diekman, De Fratus, Rosenberg, Lincoln, Stutes, Horst
Disabled List: Hamels, Adams, Pettibone, Martin
In: Ruf, Burnett, Lincoln, Stutes, Horst
Out: Mayberry, Hamels (DL), Martin (DL), Pettibone (DL), Gaudin (released due to injury)
Hamels: We received good news when Cole threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and it reportedly went better than expected. Hamels is still behind schedule but only about 1 week or 2. They will not need a 5th starter until April 13, so they could use Hamels roster spot on an additional arm out of the pen. The Phillies could retroactive Hamels DL stint but that could mess with his Spring Training Schedule. We should learn more as we edge closer to April.
Adams: He had a successful bullpen session on Thursday and looks to have a decent chance at making it back by Opening Day. But I still would consider him a question mark until he pitches in a Live Game and we learn more about his progress. If healthy, the 7 million dollar set up man is a lock.
Pettibone: Like Hamels and Adams, Pettibone had a recent successful bullpen session. If he is healthy, he could serve as the team's 5th starter (if they want a 5th) until Hamels returns or he could even make the team as the long man out of the pen. While his progress is encouraging, his healthy is a still a question mark.
Martin: This may be the most serious injury among the 4. Martin left Thursday's game early with shoulder soreness and was scheduled for an MRI. His mid 90's fastball was reportedly only in the mid 80's and the Phillies silence days later doesn't seem like good news. Hopefully its nothing serious but it doesn't look good right now.
Last 4 In
Darin Ruf: This may be an overreaction, but it seems to me that he is ahead of Mayberry right now. Coming into today's game, he was leading the team with 10 AB's, compared to just 3 from Mayberry. Bryd could slide to CF if Revere needs a day off and Gwyn Jr or Hernandez could be called up if a CF is needed for a long stretch. The Phillies need a power right handed bat off the bench and Ruf fits that description.
Brad Lincoln: After today's scoreless inning of work, Lincoln's only spring blemish is an un-earned run. He had a down year last year with Toronto but he has the arm to be a big factor in the Phillies pen this season. With the injuries and lack of known RH relievers, Lincoln is close to a lock for the Opening Day Roster.
Jeremy Horst: Honestly, the last 2 spots are huge question marks for the Phillies right now. Horst hasn't really done anything to earn this spot but he has been the long man before and I think that gives him an edge. Plus with Hamels and Adams expected back in early April, it would be easier to chose someone who is already on the 40 man roster.
Mike Stutes: It seems like a long time ago that Stutes and Bastardo were holding down the back of the Phillies pen for a few weeks. Stutes pitched a scoreless inning in his only appearance so far this spring. I'm thinking the Phillies will go with a 8 man pen until Hamels returns (4 man rotation), so it should gives guys like Stutes, Aumont and Garcia a better chance.
1st 4 Out
John Mayberry Jr: I touched on Mayberry a little earlier when discuessing Ruf's chances. With his guaranteed contract, I doubt he will be cut. But I think he does have value and a trade isn't out of the question. I like Jmay but its time to give Ruf a chance.
Kevin Munson: I would normally considering him a long shot. But he was selected by Ruben Amaro Jr. in the Rule 5 draft, so he obvously has a chance. The 25 year old righty had a 4.12 ERA between AA and AAA last season. So far this spring, he's given up an unearned run in 2 and 1/3 innings.
Phillippe Aumont: His big arm gives him a chance. But his spring hasn't gotten off to a good start. Aumont has given up 2 ER in his only 2 innings of work.
Tony Gwynn Jr: The speedy lefty figures to battle Abreu for a spot off the bench. He would give the Phillies versitly in the outfield if they chose to go with Ruf over Mayberry.