Phillies' Martin joins the bullpen parade

Posted: June 06, 2014

ETHAN MARTIN'S floppy blond locks haven't grown back in the last 10 weeks. At the end of spring training, the Phillies righthander, along with catching prospect Tommy Joseph, shaved his head in support of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's "Cut for a Cure" campaign.

Although his hair has been slow to return, Martin's right arm has come a long way back in the 2 1/2 months since he was last with the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.

Martin made his first appearance of the 2014 season on Tuesday night, posting two shutout innings against the Washington Nationals, with one walk and one strikeout. Martin, who turns 25 tomorrow, was limited to one Grapefruit League game this spring after experiencing right shoulder inflammation.

"My body feels good, my arm feels good," Martin said before yesterday's game at Nationals Park. "I feel good about all of my pitches. Once I got to [Triple A] Lehigh [3 weeks ago], I got some adrenaline pumping."

Martin, a converted starter, will be the latest in what's been a long line of righthanded relievers who will get the opportunity in 2014. In the season's first 2 months, the Phillies have used 11 righthanders out of the 'pen: Martin, Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, B.J. Rosenberg, Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Brad Lincoln, Shawn Camp, Jeff Manship, Luis Garcia and Roberto Hernandez, although Hernandez was used three times when he was skipped in the rotation.

During that time, the Phillies haven't been able to find a consistent righthander to complement veterans Papelbon and Adams.

"Right now, [Martin] can be a candidate," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "There is an opportunity for him to show what he can do."

Once he was cleared to get back into games, a month ago at Class A Clearwater, Martin began to get accustomed to his new role as a full-time reliever. He had a 1.35 ERA in 11 games between Clearwater and Lehigh Valley.

Martin's velocity was down throughout his rehab. But his fastball hovered between 92-93 mph on Tuesday and topped off at 95 mph on his 28th pitch of what was a 32-pitch outing.

"It's coming back," Martin said. "With every outing, it seems like I get a little more."

Ruf X-rays negative

The Phillies were probably due for a bit of good news on the heels of their fourth straight loss, and they received just that yesterday afternoon.

Darin Ruf did not suffer any fractures in his left wrist or right leg after a violent collision with a wall while playing leftfield Tuesday in Allentown. Ruf, who was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley on Sunday, slid hard into the wall down the leftfield line while attempting to make a catch in foul territory.

Ruf immediately exited the game and required stitches on his knee. But MRIs on both his hand and knee came back negative.

Ruf, who was playing in his first game since rejoining the IronPigs, was placed on the 7-day disabled list at Lehigh Valley. The Phils are unsure how much time he'll miss.

"The timing wasn't ideal at all because, hopefully, Ruf was on his way coming back after some at-bats down there," Sandberg said. "That's a tough break for everybody."

Ruf missed the season's first 6 weeks after suffering a left oblique strain at the end of spring training. He has been catching up on missed at-bats in the time since, and could be an option to play leftfield for the struggling Domonic Brown when he returns to full health.


Cliff Lee (left elbow strain) continues to have daily strength tests, but yesterday marked the 16th straight day he had gone without throwing. "The amount of time he has a chance to end up missing, it's going to be what it is," Ryne Sandberg said. "We have to fill that gap in the meantime" . . . Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.21) starts in the series finale vs. Washington this afternoon (4:05, CSN). Kendrick is 5-8 with a 4.85 ERA in 24 career games (22 starts) against the Nationals. Doug Fister (3-1, 3.34) held the Phillies to three hits and one unearned run in eight innings of Detroit's 2-1 win on July 26 of last year, his only career appearance against the Phillies.

On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21


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