05/11/12 10:48 PM ET
Diekman key cog in bullpen shakeup
By Paul Hagan / MLB.com
That was before Diekman was converted from a starter to a reliever, before minor league pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller and minor league pitching coach Bob Milacki suggested that he lower his release point.
The results were dramatic enough that the 25-year-old left-hander had an 0.59 earned run average with 22 strikeouts and just three walks in 15 1/3 innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley before being called up as part of a bullpen shuffle before Friday night's game against the Padres. Left-hander Raul Valdes, 34, was also selected from the IronPigs.
Those moves were part of a larger roster shake-up for the team with the worst record in the NL (11-21). Laynce Nix was also placed on the disabled list with a sore calf and 32-year-old infielder Hector Luna was called up.
Diekman was so impressive in Spring Training -- 0.00 ERA, nine strikeouts, one walk in five innings -- that pitching coach Rich Dubee jokingly offered to become his agent.
Lefthanders had been hitting .270 against the Phillies this season and the bullpen's 5.47 ERA was the highest in the Major Leagues. So it was clear something had to be done.
"They're not here to be saviors. They're here to hopefully improve our bullpen. They were pitching pretty well and hopefully that will continue," said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
The first thing Diekman did when he found out about his promotion was to call his father, Paul, at work in Nebraska. His father, who traveled to Citizen's Bank Park for Friday night's game, cried.
"It was probably the best feeling I've ever felt in my entire life. Making him cry was pretty cool," he said.
Diekman had never pitched above Double-A before this season. Valdes has appeared in 51 games in the bigs with the Mets, Cardinals and Yankees. He said he recognizes that this is another opportunity. "Yes, the bullpen is going through a tough time, but we have some good pitchers here. We can come forward out of this," he said.
When Diekman and Valdes make their first appearances, the Phillies will have already used 13 different relievers this season.
Phils option Kratz, send Posednik to Boston
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies made three pregame roster moves before Friday night's 7-3 win over the Padres at Citizens Bank Park. And they weren't done yet.
After the game, it was announced that third catcher Erik Kratz had been optioned back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and that a move to replace him would be made before Saturday night's game.
The Phillies have also sent IronPigs outfielder Scott Podsednik to the Red Sox for cash considerations.
Before the game, the team added lefthanded relievers Jake Diekman and Raul Valdes and infielder Hector Luna.
Luna called up to bolster bench
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies roster has been shaken, not stirred.
In addition to calling up two left-handed relievers, Jake Diekman and Raul Valdes, to strengthen a struggling bullpen, Hector Luna was added from Triple-A Lehigh Valley when Layne Nix was placed on the disabled list with a sore calf.
Ruben Amaro Jr. said Nix could miss more than 15 days. "I don't know. He's pretty sore," the general manager said.
Manager Charlie Manuel said Luna got the call over Mike Fontenot, who was signed after the regular season started, in part because of what he showed in Spring Training while batting .302 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 53 at bats.
"The reports were that he was hitting pretty good [.274, eight doubles, one home run, 12 RBI in 29 games] and gives us a strong hitter off the bench. I understand Fontenot's a pretty good hitter, but I haven't been around him a lot," he explained.
Luna, 32, has previously played for the Cardinals, Indians, Blue Jays and Marlins.
Qualls not on DL, nothing physically wrong
PHILADELPHIA -- An erroneous rumor circulated on Friday that right-handed reliever Chad Qualls had been placed on the disabled list.
Not only was it not true, Charlie Manuel said again there is no physical reason why Qualls, who had a 1.17 earned run average in his first eight appearances of the season, was hit so hard in his next four outings: a 10.13 ERA and a .571 opponent batting average.
"It's just a matter of getting him out on the mound, letting him have a clean inning," the manager said. "Coming out of spring training, his sinker and slider were really good. He's still there. He's just given up some hits.
"Every now and then something will be aching or hurting him, but he's fine."
Qualls pitched the ninth inning Friday night, striking out two and allowing one hit in the Phillies 7-3 win.
In two starts against the Padres this year, Vance Worley had 20 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins appeared in his 1,669th game for the Phillies, tied for fourth place on the Phillies all-time list with Tony Taylor.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who was widely quoted in several outlets as calling the Phillies play "unacceptable," modified those remarks Friday night. "I still believe in them," he said. "I don't want some of the quotes I've had recently to be misconstrued. I believe in these guys. We just have to play better.
Hunter Pence will be sponsoring his first charity event as a member of the Phillies on May 31. The "Let's Go Eat: Food and Fun Fest" on the historic Moshulu will benefit three organizations: Make-A-Wish of Philadelphia and the Susquehanna Valley, Philabundance and Phillies Charities, Inc. Varying levels of sponsorship and general admission tickets are available. More information may be obtained here
Paul Hagan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.