When Phillies fifth starter John Lannan was placed on the disabled list last month with a knee injury, one of the players who was in consideration to be called up was Lehigh Valley lefthander Adam Morgan.
Eventually Jonathan Pettibone was recalled. Meanwhile, after a strong start this season, the 23-year-old Morgan has struggled.
On Wednesday, Morgan allowed 10 runs (just three earned) on 10 hits in 31/3 innings of a 10-1 loss to Norfolk.
Morgan was 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his first three starts. In the last five, he is 0-4 with an 8.06 ERA.
"The first two innings [Wednesday] he threw very well and the velocity was up on his fastball," said Benny Looper, the Phillies' assistant general manager, player personnel. "There was a potential double play and they didn't get anybody out and there was a dropped popup and he couldn't fight his way out of the inning."
Morgan was a 2011 third-round pick from the University of Alabama.
"He hasn't been pitching professionally that long and one of the things all young pitchers need to do is pitch out of tough spots and try to hold the damage to a minimum," Looper said.
Still, Looper remains very high on Morgan's potential.
"He is healthy and fine," Looper said. "He is learning lessons the hard way and we expect him to come back to where he was."
Lakewood's Miguel Nunez allowed four earned runs in six innings during his last start on Thursday, but that was only a minor setback compared to what the 6-foot-6, 240-pound righthander has gone through. He missed each of the last two seasons with a right elbow injury.
Signed as an amateur free agent in 2010, Nunez, who turns 21 in October, is 4-0 with a 3.26 ERA and said the elbow has given him no problems.
"My elbow feels amazing," he said, with teammate Willie Carmona serving as interpreter. "All the hard work I have done has really paid off and it has been great to get back on the mound."
Before this year he had pitched 41 professional innings; for Lakewood he has thrown 382/3 innings.
"What he has done has been very impressive," said Lakewood pitching coach Aaron Fultz, the former Phillies reliever. "I can't imagine being down for two years and doing what he is doing, but he believes in himself, is aggressive in the zone, and keeps the ball down."
Clearwater outfielder Cameron Perkins skipped a level. He played for the Phillies Gulf Coast League team and also at short-season Williamsport last season. This season Perkins moved to high-A Clearwater, bypassing low-A Lakewood. A sixth-round pick in 2012 from Purdue, Perkins entered the weekend hitting .361 with three home runs and 25 RBIs.
"We thought he was mature enough to make the jump [to Clearwater] and obviously he has done well," Looper said.
Perkins, who turns 23 in September, played third base, his primary position, along with first base and right field last year. The Phillies thought they were strong at third so they moved Perkins to the outfield, where he has played primarily in left field.
It's a small sample, but lefthanded batters are hitting .034 (1 for 29) against Reading lefthander Jesse Biddle, The Inquirer's No. 1-ranked Phillies prospect. Biddle has struck out 13 lefties.
He is holding righthanders to a .168 average. Overall Biddle is 2-3 with a 2.95 ERA. He has 51 strikeouts and 20 walks in 422/3 innings.