Phillies add Aaron Heilman on minor league deal


Looking to add depth to a bullpen that’s been hit hard by injuries this season, the Phillies signed Aaron Heilman to a minor league contract on Thursday, CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury reports.  He’ll step into a Triple-A Lehigh Valley relief corps that just lost Jason Grilli to the Pirates.

Heilman was cut by the Diamondbacks after amassing a 6.81 ERA in 35 1/3 innings this season.  The stats, however, say he wasn’t nearly that bad.  He had 33 strikeouts versus just 11 walks, but he was doomed by giving up eight homers, which is twice as many as one would have expected based on his career rate.

Heilman’s velocity is down a bit this year, but he’s continued to get plenty of swings and misses.  He’s still a decent enough bet as a sixth- and seventh-inning guy, and the Phillies might want to go ahead and release Danys Baez to make room for him after he gets a few innings under his belt.

Jason Vargas fractured his non-pitching hand

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Mets left-hander Jason Vargas has a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand, the team announced Sunday. Vargas sustained the injury after taking a comebacker off of his hand on Friday and is expected to consult with a hand specialist later today as the team settles on a course of action. Comments from GM Sandy Alderson indicate that surgery is a possibility, though the left-hander may also pitch through it for the time being.

Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the team last month. He completed a four-year run with the Royals in 2017, earning his first career All-Star nomination with an 18-11 record in 32 starts and producing a 4.16 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings. Prior to the incident, the southpaw was expected to help fill out the back end of the Mets’ Opening Day rotation.

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates that Vargas will likely miss the start of the season as he faces a two- to six-week recovery period. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a pitching staff that has been absolutely ravaged by injuries over the last couple of years.