Every year, a couple of players become a pleasant surprise in spring training. Count Michael Stutes as one of those in 2011.
Even though the calendar has flipped to June, the right-handed reliever continues to shine. So maybe he can’t be considered a surprise anymore.
“I just go out and do my job when they call on me,” the 25-year-old said. “My job is to get outs. I’ve been pretty happy with my velocity and how I’ve been throwing.”
Stutes has emerged as a late-inning horse for the Phillies. In 15 games — and 11 1/3 innings for the Phils this season — he has allowed nine hits and three earned runs, while walking six and striking out 13 for a 2.38 ERA. In his last 11 appearances, Stutes has held the opposition scoreless nine times.
“Yeah, he’s done a very good job,” pitching coach Rich Dubee said. “I’ve liked his velocity and control working the corners.”
Stutes was unsure what might happen in spring training, and he never let it bother him. Ultimately, he wants to stick in the major leagues. But he also knows that’s not entirely up to him.
“There are some things you can’t control,” Stutes said. “What you can control is what happens on the mound. Get batters out and show the organization what you can do, and that they can trust you. I’ve taken that approach and it has worked for me. As for the future, you never know. But I’m enjoying every minute of it.”