Phillies Bring Leiter Back, Designate Hutchison
When the Phillies signed veteran pitcher Drew Hutchison, he put forth a strong Spring Training. With Mark Leiter, Jr. suffering an injury towards the end of Spring Training, the Phillies had an opening for a reliever who would be a long man. Hutchison filled the role out of the gate, but that role is going to go back to Leiter.
The Phillies announced this afternoon that the contract of Hutchison was designated for assignment. To replace Hutchison on the major league roster, the Phillies recalled Leiter. The move was prompted by a couple things: strong play from Leiter at Triple-A and the need for innings tonight.
Hutchison pitched last night in the Phillies 8-2 loss in Los Angeles. Hutchison allowed one run in two innings of work. But Hutchison seemed to lose the confidence of manager Gabe Kapler along the way.
Last night was just the third appearance in the month of May for Hutchison, who was on the roster the entire time. Hutchison was scored upon all three times, including five earned runs in three innings on May 18.
Leiter occupied a major league roster spot for one whole day after being activated from the disabled list for a flexor strain in his right elbow. But perhaps because the Phillies hoped Leiter would have some more time to prove he was healthy, Leiter headed to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
There, Leiter was 1-0 with a 1.50 earned run average in 6 innings over five outings since being optioned on May 16. Leiter, who struck out 17 in 12 1/3 Grapefruit League innings this February and March, kept up the strikeouts in Triple-A. Leiter struck out six in those five innings of work.
Leiter may see more work than the typical long-man, as Kapler regularly praised Leiter's ability during Spring Training and may wish to work him into some more important situations.
The move also opened up a 40-man roster spot for the Phillies. Their roster is now at 39 players.