With news breaking Sunday night that closer Jose Contreras would hit the 15-day disabled list due to an elbow injury, that assured that Phillies bullpen carousel would continue revolving.
With Contreras on the DL, it left two spots open, a roster spot and the closer’s role.
Stutes was a non-roster invitee during Spring Training this season, and looked sharp. In seven appearances, one start, Stutes threw 11 innings and maintained a 0.82ERA. He also converted on one of his two save opportunities during the Spring. So far this season, with Lehigh Valley Stutes has appeared in seven games, and has carried over his good play from Spring Training. He has a 1.80 ERA and a save, with 14 strikeouts in ten innings pitched. Stutes was drafted out of Oregon State, where he won two national championships in 2006 and 2007, in the eleventh round on the 2008 draft. Stutes has never been in the majors, but has been extremely patient waiting his turn, having a very legitimate shot right out of Spring Training, and there were rumblings that he could have joined the big league club when J.C. Romero got hurt, but the club opted for Mike Zagurski instead because he is left-handed. Stutes will definitely be a reliable righty out of the ‘pen for the Phillies.
The Phillies also filled the closer’s role, inserting Ryan Madson for the time being. Madson has also been patient in waiting for the closer’s role. After the Phils’ placed Brad Lidge on the DL in March with a shoulder injury, there was a competition between Ryan Madson, who has experience, and Jose Contreras, who did not have a save in his eight year career coming into 2011. Well, the Phillies surprised most people by choosing Contreras to close games coming out of Spring, and he has done just fine so far converting on all five save opportunities.
Unfortunate for the Phillies, Jim Salisbury of CSNphilly.com, reported that Madson was suffering from some soreness in his arm. But the team and Madson both say there is nothing wrong. Even if there is nothing wrong with Madson, that is not exactly what you want to hear right after they just lost, yet again, another key component of their bullpen.
It will be interesting to see how the bullpen will do because with the offense struggling, runs are at a premium. They will have to adapt to the changes quickly and perform well.