Reliever Chad Durbin glad to be back with Phillies

Posted: January 31, 2013

CHAD DURBIN was holding out hope that he would return to the Phillies after spring training began in Clearwater 2 years ago. But on the first day of March he signed with the Cleveland Indians, ending his 3-year tour in Philadelphia.

He had hoped to come back before the 2012 season, too, but instead went to camp with the Washington Nationals and latched onto the Atlanta Braves' bullpen shortly before the season got under way.

"This year," Durbin said, "it managed to work out."

After Durbin had a successful season in Atlanta in 2012, there was more interest in him this winter than in each of the last two, but once again he had his sights on Philadelphia.

"I like playing here,'' said Durbin, who finalized a 1-year, $1.1 million contract with the Phillies on Tuesday. "I like the way the organization treats its players and the people here. I like the way it feels out there. And it's a bunch of good guys in a clubhouse."

Durbin's deal includes a club option for 2014.

Durbin was on the Phils' roster at the height of their National League dominance, after being non-tendered by the Detroit Tigers in December 2007.

He was a versatile member of a strong relief corps in 2008, when the Phils had the best bullpen ERA in the National League and the second best in baseball. Durbin won a World Series ring in his first season in Philadelphia.

He struggled mightily in his first season after leaving Philly, going 2-2 with a 5.53 ERA in 56 games with Cleveland. But Durbin regained form last season, nearly cutting his ERA in half (4-1, 3.10 ERA) in 76 games in Atlanta.

Durbin had a 0.83 ERA with a .169 opponents' batting average in 28 games against NL East opponents in 2012.

In 2013, Durbin returns to a bullpen that looks nothing like the one he left - Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero are long gone - but with important pieces at the back end that should provide stability. Earlier this offseason, the Phils signed veteran setup man Mike Adams to pitch in front of All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon.

"It's pretty special having eighth and ninth [inning] guys out there, so if you can just complement them and get the ball to them in a good situation, keep the momentum going if the team is winning, or keep it where it's at if we're tied, [you] put yourself in a good situation," Durbin said.

Durbin expects to return to his old role with the Phillies, as someone who can pitch anywhere from the fifth through eighth innings with the ability to record more than three outs if called upon. As a 35-year-old veteran with 13 years of big-league experience, he's also expected to be a mentor for the younger pitchers on the staff.

"I know a lot of the guys having been in Clearwater when they were there, spring training," Durbin said. "I have good relationships with [Michael] Schwimer and [Justin] De Fratus and [Phillippe] Aumont and those guys. So if nothing else, I've already started a conversation with them that can just keep going."

Ramirez designated

To make room for Chad Durbin on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated righthander J.C. Ramirez for assignment.


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

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