Phillies Notes: Phillies' Aumont praised by man he was traded for - Cliff Lee

Posted: September 14, 2012

It ranked among the most unpopular trades in Phillies history when general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. sent Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners for the minor-league trio of J.C. Ramirez, Tyson Gillies, and Phillippe Aumont in December 2009.

Many of the developments since only hardened the initial view.

Now, however, Aumont is becoming a go-to guy in the middle of a playoff race and his work is being endorsed by none other than Clifton Phifer Lee.

"Oh, he's good," Lee said Wednesday after Aumont pitched a scoreless eighth inning in the Phillies' 3-1 win over Miami.

After issuing a one-out walk to Donovan Solano, Aumont struck out Giancarlo Stanton on three pitches and retired Carlos Lee on a grounder to shortstop to protect a 3-1 lead for Lee.

"Obviously he's a big guy who throws really hard and has a pretty good curveball," Lee said. "I don't know what more to say. He's done everything that has been asked of him so far, so I expect him to be a huge part of our bullpen for several years to come. He's got unbelievable stuff."

All nine of Aumont's appearances have come in the eighth inning or later and the Phillies have had the lead in eight of the nine games. Only once has he allowed a run and only three times has he even allowed a hit. His ERA after Wednesday's game stood at 1.08, which is surprising when you consider he had a 4.26 ERA in 41 games at triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.

"I'm glad I can go out there and prove myself and go have fun," Aumont said. "We're on a good roll right now, so it's definitely fun to be a part of that."

Ruf in waiting

With the Phillies now unquestionably a part of the National League wild-card race, manager Charlie Manuel was asked if it would be more difficult to work Darin Ruf into the starting lineup for a game.

"Yeah, definitely," Manuel said. "At the same time, over in Houston I'll look and see who's pitching and I might try to get him in a game. I will try to get him in a game if I think it's OK. I'm definitely not scared to play him."

It's possible the first time we see Ruf will be as a pinch-hitter against a lefthander when Manuel is looking for a long ball. Ruf was double-A Reading's home run king.

"Yeah, there comes a time when you look and say, 'We need a double or a home run,' " Manuel said. "The kid just hit 40 [actually 39] altogether counting the playoffs. I still think he's got 41 in him."

Onward to 2013

With a suddenly renewed interest in this season, the Phillies released their schedule for next season before the series finale against Miami.

The 2013 season opens April 1 in Atlanta, with a unique home opener following four days later when the Phillies begin an interleague series against the Kansas City Royals.

The Phillies will also play a home-and-home interleague series against the Boston Red Sox, with two games at Fenway Park May 27 and 28 followed by two games at Citizens Bank Park on May 29 and 30.

They will host a two-game interleague series with the Cleveland Indians on May 14-15 after playing in Cleveland on April 30 and May 1.

The Phillies' other home interleague series will be against the Chicago White Sox from July 12 to 14.

The Phillies will play 15 of their first 19 September games at home next season before closing the year with a six-game road trip to Miami and Atlanta.

Extra bases

Manuel said Carlos Ruiz's left foot was "doing fine" after the catcher made his first start since Aug. 2 in Tuesday night's win over the Marlins. "He might catch [Friday]," Manuel said. . . . Michael Martinez made his seventh straight start at third base as Kevin Frandsen remained sidelined with a stress fracture in his left leg. Frandsen has been available as a pinch-hitter and Manuel indicated that he might start him at third base Thursday in Houston. Frandsen, according to Manuel and Amaro, is unable to play consecutive games because of his condition.

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