Phils’ prospect want spot so bad it hurts

Scott Mathieson’s goal is evident. During a 10-minute conversation, the longtime Phillies prospect said that he wants to pitch in the big leagues in 2011 three times.

That’s exactly how many elbow surgeries the 27-year old reliever has had during his frustrating career. Two of those operations were for Tommy John surgery.

“I’ve been under the knife a lot,” Mathieson said. “To have that much surgery and come back means that I want to pitch in the majors badly.”

Mathieson, who was drafted by the Phillies in the 17th round in 2002, has pitched in every level of their minor league system. He also had a cup of coffee with the big club in 2006.

“I remember what that was like,” Mathieson said. “I want to experience it again.”

Mathieson was a starter back then, but he was converted to a reliever in 2009.

“I was a little disappointed with the move to the bullpen,” Mathieson said. “I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do it.”

But that all changed last season, after Mathieson notched 26 saves as the closer for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

“I love that role,” Mathieson said. “I come in with all of this adrenaline. The game is on the line. It’s just awesome. Being a starter, you can pitch in about 30 games a year. Being in the bullpen, you can be in every other game — and to be the closer is so satisfying.”

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