The Phillies bullpen picture became a bit clearer this morning as RHP Scott Mathieson and LHP Mike Zagurski were both optioned to Minor League Camp. Both should start the season in AAA Lehigh Valley. Mathieson, 27, came into camp with a legitimate shot to make the team but performed inconsistently during his Spring outings. The inconsistency and some recent command problems most likely led to the trip back to the minors. Mathieson pitched well in Lehigh Valley last season as the teams primary closer going 3-6 with a 2.80 ERA in 54 outings, accruing 26 saves and striking out 83 in his 64.1 innings.
The expectations were as high for Mike Zagurski this Spring as he was competing primarily with Antonio Bastardo as a LOOGY in the Phils ‘pen. Zagurski, 28, pitched well this Spring but lost this battle, at least in the short term, although injury issues always seem to crop up with Bastardo. On the bright side for Lehigh Valley fans, the bullpen appears to stack up very well with Mathieson, Zagurski, Schwimer, and Stutes pitching the later innings for the ‘Pigs.