Michael Stutes pitched a scoreless ninth inning in last night’s 1-0 walkoff win over the Athletics. While it wasn’t a save situation, Ryan Madson was curious in his continued absence.
According to Ray Perillo of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel admitted after the game that Madson was unavailable due to numbness in his pitching hand. He hasn’t pitched since last Saturday against the Mariners.
“For about a week now, he didn’t have feeling in his hand,” Manuel said. “Today, hopefully, he got it taken care of, and he should be able to pitch in three or four days.”
Manuel wasn’t specific about when the injury took place, but it’s believed that the numbness stems from when Madson was hit in the hand by a comebacker off the bat of David Murphy on May 20. Madson has a 4.15 ERA and 11/4 K/BB ratio over 13 innings since the date in question.
Stutes and Antonio Bastardo figure to share the closer role over the next couple of days, but one wonders if they would ramp up their pursuit of Heath Bell if Madson’s hand continues to be an issue.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.