Madson’s Time To Step Up

April 25th, 2011 by Mike H. | Filed under Baseball, Phillies.

Yet another cog in the Phillies machine needs to be replaced. Jose Contreras was placed on the 15-day disabled list with what is being called a strained right flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow. He will fly back to Philadelphia to see the team physician, Dr. Michael Ciccotti, either late Monday or Tuesday. It has yet to be determined if a MRI has been ordered, but with this type of injury, one definitely will. The MRI will show whether or not there is damage to the ulnar collateral ligament, which can lead to a pitcher’s three most hated words: Tommy John Surgery. If the UCL is damaged, Contreras will be done for the year, and possibly for his career. If it is only a strain of the pronator tendon, Contreras will probably be out 3-5 weeks resting and rehabbing the arm. With both Lidge and Contreras on the disabled list until the end of May, it’s time for Ryan Madson to prove he can close.

With Contreras out, Ryan Madson will be the team’s primary closer, and spring training stand out Michael Stutes has been called up. Stutes, who went 0-0 with a 0.82 ERA with 14 strike outs and 2 walks over eleven innings in the Grapefruit League, has been handling himself nicely in AAA Lehigh Valley. In 10 innings, Stutes has a 2-1 record with a 1.80 ERA. He has struck 14 and walked 4. He’s has, however, hit a lot of bats in AAA, with 9 hits in 10 innings. I would have to imagine that Charlie starts him in the 7th inning with Baez and Bastardo sharing the 8th inning for the time being.

Madson has had limited success in the past as the team’s closer. He is in the final year of his current contract and is expected to test the free agent market. If he succeeds, the Phillies may want to start negotiating with Madson now to keep costs down. If he fails, we know that he will most likely walk at the end of the year.

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