Yesterday, the Phillies made their first round of spring training cuts.
Phillies option RHP Mike Stutes and Luis Garcia. Reassigned to minors: OFs Aaron Altherr, Kelly Dugan, Leandro Castro and C Sebastian Valle.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) March 8, 2014
Those cuts were made early in the day, before the game was played. After the game, pitcher Jesse Biddle was also reassigned to minor league camp.
Most of those names are not surprising, including Biddle. He made two appearances in spring training and neither were particularly impressive. In total, he pitched three innings with five hits, four earned runs, two walks, and three strikeouts. Biddle is 22 and is still improving, and I'm eager to see how he does in minor league camp and in the early part of the season. I'm not expecting a replay of last year, when he was on fire to begin the season. I'd just like to see him be consistent.
The biggest surprise on the list is Michael Stutes, who broke out with the Phillies back in 2011. That year, he pitched 62 innings over 57 games with an ERA of 3.63. That was surely the high water mark, as he spent most of the last two seasons dealing with shoulder and biceps issues. His three spring training innings left much to be desired -- five hits, seven earned runs, three walks and zero strikeouts. Why is this happening? Well, this might provide a clue...
Asked Stutes if his shoulder is completely healthy: "I’ll pass on that."— Chris Branch (@ChrisBranchTNJ) March 8, 2014
I feel for Stutes, and not just because he's adorable. (Though he is.) After two years of health issues, his shoulder still isn't completely healthy. It was always going to be an uphill battle for him to make the big league bullpen, with Bastardo and Diekman a lock and many other suitors vying for the remaining spots. But that doesn't make it any easier to watch the guy continue to struggle with the health of his pitching arm/shoulder.
Though we must say goodbye to these players for now, the first round of cuts means we're that much closer to knowing what the 2014 Phillies are going to look like. And that means we're closer to actual baseball. 22 days left!