Diekman Moves To The Side
Righty adjust arm angle in relief role
PHILADELPHIA—The decision to move lefthander Jake Diekman to the bullpen and make him a sidearmer is paying dividends, and he was among four prospects added to the 40-man roster in November.
The Phillies also added righthander Phillippe Aumont, outfielder Tyson Gillies and catcher Sabastian Valle. Aumont and Gillies both came to the Phillies in the deal that sent Cliff Lee to the Mariners in Dec. 2009.
Diekman, 24, may be a late bloomer. He was a 30th-round pick out of junior college in 2007 and worked as a starter his first two seasons in the system, then moved to the bullpen in 2009, and there he started to experiment with a sidearm delivery. He began using it regularly in 2010, and team officials say it helped the pop on his fastball.
He had a 3.55 ERA in 53 games at Double-A Reading in 2011, and in 65 innings he allowed 47 hits while striking out 83. His control still needs work, shown by 44 his walks. He continued to shine in the Arizona Fall League, allowing just three hits and one earned run in his first 11 innings, and was selected to pitch in the league's Rising Stars Game.
Diekman could develop into a situational lefty, but he may have the stuff to be a full-inning guy. He is expected to open next season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The decision to protect Aumont and Valle was no surprise. After a difficult 2010 season, Aumont is back on track, throwing mid- to high-90s gas with a power curveball. Team officials believe he is close to helping in the majors. Valle, the organization's top catching prospect, will move to Double-A in 2012 to work with a prospect-studded pitching staff.
Gillies, 23, was limited to 31 games the last two seasons by a stubborn hamstring injury. He was healthy enough to play in the AFL this fall, but was hitting just .178 in 27 games.
• Shortstop Freddy Galvis was hitting .232 with a .321 on-base percentage in his first 21 games with Zulia in Venezuela. He missed a week to have a cyst in his wrist drained. Galvis will probably cut short his season in December to begin a strength and conditioning program.
• The Phils signed lefty reliever Raul Valdez to a minor league deal. He has pitched for both New York teams as well as the Cardinals.