Michael Stutes is looking rusty out of the chute. To be successful, Stutes must have control, something that has eluded him so far in spring training.
Sure, it’s still early. Stutes made his first appearance in a game in nearly 11 months this past weekend. Stutes had command issues, but he’s confident that he’ll regain 2011 form before a right shoulder injury sidelined him last season.
Stutes was a revelation two years ago since he made a habit of getting ahead of hitters before expanding the zone with two strikes on the hitter.
“That’s exactly what I have to do to in order to be successful,” Stutes said. “I do all that I can from getting behind in the count. I’m still working toward where I need to be. I’m confident that I’ll get there.”
There are three spots open in the bullpen. Stutes is competing with Jake Diekman, Justin DeFratus, Jeremy Horst and Phillippe Aumont.
“I don’t think about the competition as much as I think about just being able to do what I’m capable of. I know I can do the job. I just have to go out there like I did in 2011 and throw strikes.”
Stutes says his shoulder feels fine.
“It’s great,” Stutes said. “I can’t complain about that. It’s in very good shape. I have no physical excuses. I just have to go out there and execute my pitches. I want to be part of the bullpen. I believe this club has the chance to do something special this season and I want to be part of that. We have the starting pitching and the guys who can produce offensively. I also think the bullpen is going to be solid this season and I want to be part of it.”
The Difference Maker
The Phillies blew 13 eighth-inning leads in 2012, which was the difference between the playoffs and an uncharacteristically early end of the season.
“I have a feeling that’s not going to happen again,” Stutes said.
Stutes love pressure.
“Put me in a tight situation,” Stutes said. “Actually put me in any situation.”