More Roster Reinforcements for the Phillies

Last night, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs were eliminated from the postseason and the newest batch of September roster reinforcements are headed to join the Phillies as a result.

Due to Reading and Lehigh Valley’s postseason run, the Phillies were lacking in available bullpen reinforcements and running with an abnormally small September bullpen as a result. Now they’re able to bolster their relief corps with Lehigh Valley’s closer and noted former barber Luis Garcia in addition as well as, Joely Rodriguez, a lefty reliever.

Rodriguez, you may recall, was acquired two offseasons ago from the Pirates in exchange for Antonio Bastardo. After a difficult 2015 season, he was outrighted off the roster last December. He’s gone on to put together a solid year in the upper minors this season combining for a 2.35 ERA, 22.7 K%, 7.7 BB%, and 1.15 WHIP in 76.2 innings across time with Clearwater, Reading, and Lehigh Valley. It’s worth noting that lefties have amassed just a .512 OPS against Rodriguez this year while righties have hit him to a .684 OPS. This was enough to earn the potential future LOOGY a return to the 40-man roster and an opportunity to make his major league debut. Rodriguez is still just 24 years old and given that the Phillies still have a wide open spot at the lefty reliever position, he could be playing for an opportunity to compete for a bullpen spot with the 2017 Phillies.

The other pitcher being recalled, Phil Klein, has been tremendous out of the rotation for Lehigh Valley ever since being claimed off waivers from the Rangers. He’s posted a 1.52 ERA in 65.1 innings while striking out 30.3% of batters and walking just 5.2%. He made a dismal spot start for the Phillies against the Giants last month, but could be leaned on for the rest of the season as a long reliever or a starter should the Phillies opt either for a six-man rotation or to shutdown Jake Thompson.

As for Cody Asche, he’s worked on a bit of positional versatility in Triple-A by getting time at first base and third base. The Phillies know what they have in Asche at this point, but he has put up solid numbers with Lehigh Valley this season (.279/.350/.515, 149 wRC+) for whatever that’s worth. This month he will most likely be stating his case for a role as a utility player on future Phillies team.

Meanwhile, Double-A Reading is down two games to one in their playoff series and will try to avoid elimination tonight and, hopefully, tomorrow night against Trenton. Expect another wave of call-ups when Reading’s season officially concludes.

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