The Phillies made a series of moves on Friday.
First, and most importantly, the Phillies announced Pat Neshek would be sent on a rehab assignment.
Pat Neshek will begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday at high-A Clearwater. Sounds like it could be a short one, although #Phillies not yet pinpointing return date.— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) June 22, 2018
Neshek has been on the disabled list since the start of the season with a right shoulder strain that turned into a right forearm strain during his recovery.
The Phillies signed Neshek, who was the team’s lone All-Star representative last year when he put up a 1.12 ERA in 43 games with the team, to a two year, $15 million deal as a free agent this off-season. Neshek was expected to form a solid, veteran, late-inning duo with the struggling Tommy Hunter, but the ‘pen has suffered in Neshek’s absence and Hunter’s struggles.
Phillies relievers have combined for a 4.13 ERA, 10th in the NL, and are allowing opposing hitters to bat .245 against them, which also ranks 10th. Their 4.80 ERA in the 9th inning is 4th-highest in the National League.
Second, the team signed former Washington Nationals infielder Danny Epinosa to a minor league deal.
As reported by Phillies beat reporter Matt Breen, the Phillies are Espinosa’s 7th team since the start of last season, and his fourth this year. He was signed by the Yankees before the start of the season, released by them in early March, signed by the Blue Jays a few days later, released in late April, signed by the Dodgers at the beginning of May and then released Los Angeles o May 30 (info from Baseball Reference).
He has yet to play in a Major League game this year. In 32 AAA games for the Dodgers and Jays, he hit .190/.236/.276 with two homers and four doubles, and in 93 big league games last year he batted .173/.245/.278 with the Angels, Mariners and Rays. His best season was in 2016 when he hit 24 homers and drove in 72 for the Nationals, although he hit just .209/.306/.378 in 157 games that season.
Finally, Zac Curtis has been recalled for his second stint with the Phils this season. In 5.1 innings earlier this year he gave up two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts and a way-too-high seven walks. He did post a 3.38 ERA. In 23 games for AAA Lehigh Valley, he posted a 2.54 ERA in 28.1 innings with 37 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Curtis will likely serve as a LOOGY while with the Phillies. While right-handers batted .308/.500/.385 against him this season at Lehigh (20 PAs), lefties hit .167/.286/.167 (7 PAs). Curtis becomes the third left-handed pitcher in the ‘pen, joining Adam Morgan and Austin Wright. Jake Thompson was demoted on Thursday.