Earlier in the morning, Dubee told Jake Diekman he was optioned to the minors. And there was nothing somber about the meeting with the 25-year-old lefty.
"I asked him first if he had an agent," Dubee said. "He told me he did. I said, 'Fire him. Because I'll jump on and be your agent and hopefully I'll be able to retire soon.' I think he's got tremendous upside. Seriously. That's what I told him. I expect to see him this year. If the call comes, I expect him to be ready."
If Bastardo continues to confound, that call to Diekman could come sooner rather than later. Bastardo did not pitch last week to calm soreness in his left forearm. The Phillies say it was caused by dehydration and there are no structural problems.
That does not make his recent performance any less troubling.
A scout who watched Bastardo pitch Sunday said he topped out at 91 m.p.h. He was similar, if not worse, Tuesday. His fastball averaged 92.5 m.p.h. in 2011.
"I'm not seeing velocity like I should be seeing," Dubee said. "But at the same time, I think we've got that disease going through our camp where we've got a lot of dead arms right now. That happens a lot."
Diekman was among three pitching cuts; righthanders Brian Sanches and Scott Elarton were reassigned to minor-league camp. The Phillies now have 14 healthy pitchers in camp to fill 11 or 12 spots.
Whatever bullpen the Phillies begin the season with is subject to change, especially given all of the useful parts at Lehigh Valley. Diekman is one of them, despite having never pitched above double A. This spring put him on Dubee's radar.
In five Grapefruit League innings, Diekman struck out nine and walked one. He allowed one unearned run on two hits.
His fastball regularly reaches 96 to 97 m.p.h., but the development must occur with Diekman's slider and change-up. That was Dubee's message after the first bullpen in February and it hasn't changed.
"He looked like a big-leaguer the whole spring," Dubee said. "I think he left here riding pretty high, so hopefully that will continue."
Depending on Jose Contreras's health, the Phillies could have as few as one spot to fill in the bullpen or as many as three. If they take 11 pitchers, including Contreras, that leaves only one job for the group of Mike Stutes, David Herndon, Joe Savery, and Raul Valdes. Stutes is the favorite, despite his spring ineffectiveness. All four can be sent to the minors.
Jim Thome played six more innings at first base. He drove in a run and scored another. . . . Cliff Lee was in midseason form: He pitched six scoreless innings and hit a double. Righthander Justin De Fratus threw off a mound for the first time this spring and reported no problems. . . . Joe Blanton and Cole Hamels will start the two exhibition games against Pittsburgh at Citizens Bank Park on Monday and Tuesday. . . . A baseball source said the Phillies have spoken to the Cincinnati Reds about utility infielder Paul Janish. The Phils are seeking depth because Michael Martinez's broken foot will sideline him for six to eight weeks.
Contact Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @magelb