AFTER A litany of elbow injuries that included two serious surgeries, the mere fact that righthander Scott Mathieson was in a position to sign with a team in Japan counts as an accomplishment in itself. Yesterday, the Phillies granted his release so he can sign with the Yomiuri Giants.
Mathieson, 27, had been with the organization since 2002, when it selected him in the 17th round of the amateur draft. He started eight games for the Phillies in 2006 before embarking on a frustrating series of surgeries that left his career in jeopardy. He ultimately returned to the big leagues for six relief appearances in 2010 and '11. Last season, he struck out five and walked three while allowing nine hits in five scoreless innings over four games. But Mathieson had clearly slipped on the organization's depth chart. His departure opens up a spot on the 40-man roster, which now sits at 39.