CLEARWATER, Fla.–The Phillies returned righthander Alfredo Simon to the Rangers on Saturday, after the Rule 5 pick allowed six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings this spring.
The Phillies, who originally signed Simon out of the Dominican Republic in 1999, have yet to reach a decision on the other arm the club took in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft last September–righthander Jim Ed Warden.
Simon’s locker is just two doors down for Warden, and the pressure’s on as spring training winds down.
“You see that empty locker and it makes you think of every pitch you threw–good or bad,” Warden said. “But my career has never been determined by one pitch. I mean, just a couple years ago I was a 25-year-old guy who was the last option in a bullpen in A ball.
“Now I’m here. I just don’t want to be in this clubhouse in Clearwater. I want to prove I belong in the one that’s in Philadelphia too.”
Phillies GM Pat Gillick said Warden has ‘an outside chance’ of breaking with the big league club, though working out a deal with the Indians–Warden’s former club–could be an option.
Warden allowed four runs in his first appearance this spring, but has been steady since then. The Indians converted Warden from a high three-quarters arm slot to a low, sidearm delivery only a year ago, so there are still kinks to be worked out at times.
“It was early and even though I felt fine, I battled with finding that release point,” Warden said. “I’ve only been doing it for a short amount of time and I think I’ve shown them what I can do. It’s been an unbelievable time having this experience, and I’m not about to let it go away. Once you get a taste of this . . . there’s nowhere else you’d want to be.”
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