Mike Adams feeling good in Phillies debut

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Mike Adams pitched a scoreless fourth inning in relief of Cole Hamels.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Mike Adams pitched a scoreless fourth inning in relief of Cole Hamels.
Posted: March 01, 2013

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Mike Adams took the mound in a Phillies uniform for the first time Thursday, and afterward, was asked to compare how he felt physically to the same time last spring.

Adams didn't have a good answer because there wasn't one. There wasn't any comparison.

After rising through the San Diego Padres' bullpen to become one of the game's best setup men, Adams was entering his first full season with the Texas Rangers last spring when his shoulder began bothering him. And then he felt numbness in his pitching hand, struggling to grip the ball.

By the time the season was over, he felt like he was throwing a shot put, not a baseball.

The ball almost certainly did not feel like a shot put on Thursday, when Adams pitched a scoreless fourth inning in relief of Cole Hamels in the Phillies' 10-5 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Four months removed from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, Adams was so eager to get back on the mound that pitching coach Rich Dubee had to rein him in. But Adams was able to let loose against the Braves in the sixth game of the spring.

"To me, it's not a big shock how I feel right now - I'm more excited about it than anything," Adams said. "Slowly, I'll keep getting my stuff back, keep building arm strength, and get the velocity where it needs to be."

If Adams can regain his status as a shutdown setup man, the Phillies will have fixed what was the team's Achilles' heel in 2012: holding onto leads late in games.

Adams, who signed a 2-year, $12 million deal as a free agent this winter, had a 3.27 ERA and a 2.65 strikeout-to-walk rate last season. In the two previous seasons, Adams had a 1.60 ERA and 3.97 strikeout-to-walk rate.

The Phils are banking on a healthy Adams returning to the reliever he was in 2010 and 2011.

"I know what happened last year [here] with the eighth inning . . . It's well-documented," Adams said. "I'm looking forward to it. This is something I love to do. I love my role in the eighth inning and being considered one of the better setup guys in the game. I'd rather be one of the best setup men in the game than the No. 15 closer in the game. I like the fact I have that role."

Adams allowed one hit, struck out one and got two groundball outs in his Phillies debut.


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

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