Phillies Notebook: Adams ready to return to bullpen

Posted: April 13, 2014

HELP COULD soon be on the way for the Phillies' beleaguered bullpen. Veteran setup man Mike Adams is targeting a Monday return, contingent upon a successful outing at Triple A Lehigh Valley today. The Phillies' bullpen entered yesterday with a 5.40 ERA, ranked second-worst in the National League. Phillies relievers were averaging only 7.09 strikeouts per nine innings, second-lowest in the NL (Washington and Atlanta rank first and second at 12.71 and 11.86).

Adams, 35, was one of baseball's best setup men from 2008-12, prompting the Phillies to sign him to a 2-year, $12 million deal last offseason. Adams, who was coming off surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome, appeared in 28 games before hitting the disabled list with a shoulder injury that would eventually require season-ending surgery.

In the five seasons before 2013, Adams posted a 1.98 ERA while averaging 9.5 strikeouts, 2.5 walks and 0.6 home runs per nine innings. His numbers last year: a 3.96 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and 1.8 HR/9.

It remains to be seen how closely Adams resembles the pitcher he was at his physical peak. Even before his shoulder surgery, his velocity had declined from an average of around 93 mph to an average around 90 mph. Adams said yesterday he has been averaging 89 to 90 mph during his rehab appearances.

"It's around where I was last year, I guess, maybe a little better," Adams said. "Hopefully, coming up here and getting into a big-league ballgame, I can trigger a few extra notches, but we'll see what happens. The main thing is I've been locating pretty well, changing speeds and working on a few things. The main thing is as long as I keep the ball down, 89 to 90, that'll work."

In three games at Class A Clearwater, he had five strikeouts, one walk, three hits and one run.

The Phillies have had all kinds of problems keeping games close once their starters exit. Their righthanded relievers entered last night having combined to allow 10 runs in 14 1/3 innings.

Hernandez departs

The Phillies still have hope that 24-year-old infielder Cesar Hernandez will develop into an everyday player, which is why they dispatched him to Double A Reading after activating Freddy Galvis from the disabled list.

Hernandez, a natural second baseman, is attempting to get comfortable at third and shortstop. He logged only 14 plate appearances off the bench in the Phillies' first nine games, going 3-for-13 with a double and five strikeouts.

Galvis has spent the last few weeks working himself back into shape after fighting off a MRSA infection late in spring training. In 222 plate appearances last season, Galvis hit .234 with a .283 on base percentage, .385 slugging percentage and six home runs while playing four different positions.

Phillers

The Phillies welcomed back righthander Seth Rosin, a Rule 5 pick who spent spring training with the Dodgers before opening the season on the Rangers' active roster. Rosin will report to Triple A, where he will work as a reliever . . . Centerfielder Ben Revere missed last night's game with sore ribs. He is day-to-day.


On Twitter: @ByDavidMurphy

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