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February 19 2007

If the Phillies go into the season with a pen that includes Gordon, Alfonseca, Geary, Smith, Madson, Castro and the odd-man out in the rotation, who would be the guy that would make you the most nervous the first time he got the ball with the game on the line?  For me, it's not either of the guys who have thrown less than 35 innings in their major league career or Madson coming off a year when he threw to a 5.69 ERA.  Even if he pitched lights out in spring training, it would be the guy who seems likely to be the setup man, Alfonseca.

Everyone knows that Alfonseca's season was injury-scarred in '06.  What shouldn't be overlooked, though, is that he was awful at the end of 2005 as well.

In April, 2005, while pitching with the Marlins, Alfonseca hit the DL with a stress fracture in his pitching elbow.  He returned at the end of July.  Here's what he's done since July, 2005:

 

IP ER H BB ERA Ratio
33.2 23 47 18 6.15 1.93

Alfonseca was bombed in August and September in 2005.  After the season, the Fish declined his $2.75 million option and he signed with the Rangers as a free agent in January of last year.

On May 9 of last year, Alfonseca allowed two runs in an inning against the Twins on three hits and a walk.  He had appeared in 17 games for the Rangers and thrown to a 4.80 ERA.  On May 16 he would warm up but didn't enter the game due to tightness in his elbow.  By May 19 he was on the DL.  He was activated from the DL on June 6, pitched in two games and was designated for assignment on June 9.  He was given his unconditional release on June 19.

Here are his career numbers through July, 2005:

 

IP ER H BB ERA Ratio
529.2 227 565 205 3.86 1.45

Maybe the 2005 injury is related or maybe there's another explanation to how he's pitched since the trip to the DL with Florida that year.  Or maybe his injury problems are finally behind him.  Either way, if Alfonseca does come north with the Phillies in April it's going to take more than a couple of nice outings from him before I'm watching without my fingers crossed.

This article says that Manuel says the players in the mix for a bullpen spot are Castro, Eude Brito, Jim Ed Warden, Anderson Garcia, Alfredo Simon, Brian Sanches and Clay Condrey.

The Phillies have started contract talks with Ryan Howard's agent.

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