Two of the three amigos have been optioned to Lehigh Valley. Jake Diekman and Justin DeFratus are no longer competing for the three remaining spots in the Phillies’ bullpen.
Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Chad Durbin and Antonio Bastardo will head north with the team when camp breaks. Phillippe Aumont, who is close friends with Diekman and DeFratus, along with Jeremy Horst, Mike Stutes, Raul Valdes and Aaron Cook, are in the mix to make the ’pen.
“My goal coming into camp is to do the best that I can to make the team,” Diekman said. “I know what I can do.”
Diekman, who was up and down this spring with a 4.50 ERA, has an incredibly bright future. He struck out 12 batters in 10 innings in Grapefruit League play, and has arguably the greatest upside of any of the Phillies’ young bullpen arms.
“The sky is the limit for that kid,” pitching coach Rich Dubee said. “He’ll make his mark. You can bet on that.”
Aumont has posted decent numbers this spring but what’s most impressive is how he has handled the tougher hitters in baseball. The towering, intimidating Canadian has been throwing plenty of 96 mph fastballs inside.
“I really started throwing inside late last season, particularly in September, and it has helped me a great deal,” Aumont said. “That might help me win a spot.”
Horst has pitched well during the spring, but what helps him most in potentially winning a spot is a tremendous 2012 season when he went 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA in 32 games.
“I think they know what I can do,” Horst said. “I can be the left-handed situational guy. I can pitch in whatever inning.”
He can also go multiple innings and the same can be said for Valdes, who was very good last season with a 2.90 ERA in 27 games.
“You just go out and do the best you can,” Horst said. “I hope to be part of what I think can be a very good bullpen.”