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Biddle leaves winter ball team with sore elbow

PHOENIX -- Jesse Biddle's regular season in the Phillies' minor-league system was a disaster and now his offseason is off to a lousy start, too.

PHOENIX - The plan was for Jesse Biddle to go to Puerto Rico and make up some of the innings he lost during his disastrous 2014 season in the Phillies' minor-league system. Like so many of the team's recent plans, it went awry.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday at the general managers meetings that Biddle has returned to Philadelphia after just two appearances with his Puerto Rican winter league team because of a sore elbow. Biddle left with a 0-1 record and a 15.19 ERA for Mayaguez. He will be checked out by team physician Michael Ciccotti and undergo an MRI exam.

"We don't think it's anything serious, but we're being super cautious on him," Amaro said. "He had one outing where he threw OK. But he's going to see Dr. Ciccotti and we'll know a little bit more. It's just soreness. He's never had it before."

Biddle, the Phillies' first-round pick in 2010 out of Germantown Friends School, endured a miserable season in the minors, going a combined 5-10 with a 4.58 ERA at three levels.

The 23-year-old lefty opened the season at double-A Reading for the second straight year and suffered a concussion after being hit in the head by an ice pellet during a hailstorm in May. He was shut down in late June by the Phillies because the team thought he needed a mental break. He was shut down for good in mid-August because of a quadriceps injury.

Biddle pitched just 941/3 innings this season and the Phillies hoped he would regain some confidence and make up some of those innings in Puerto Rico. Amaro said Biddle will likely return to Puerto Rico if he is physically cleared to do so.

Amaro conceded that Biddle still needs to clear mental and physical obstacles.

"He's got some hurdles and some things he has to get over and we have very high expectations of him still, but he's got a lot of work to do yet," Amaro said. "He needs pitching time and he has some hurdles to get over mentally. We'd like everyone to go in a straight line and have everything be perfect, but we're not in a perfect business."

Ruf sent home

Outfielder-first baseman Darin Ruf was sent home from his winter ball team in the Dominican Republic after hitting just .167 with one home run in 11 games for the Tigres del Licey.

"He actually got hit by a pitch and I think he either went on the DL or missed a lot of time," Amaro said. "He was hit in the triceps and he was not able to play for a while and I think they decided, 'You know what, we're going to get another player.' That happens a lot in winter ball."