NEW YORK - Kenny Giles possesses the best arm in the Phillies organization, and the minor-league flamethrower is now one step closer to the majors. The 23-year-old righthander was promoted Friday to triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Ryne Sandberg said the Phillies did not consider jumping Giles from double-A Reading to the majors. The Phillies manager is eager to see how Giles, who throws in the high 90s, handles better competition.
"They'll make him throw more strikes," Sandberg said. "They'll take balls and make the pitcher be in the strike zone. They're older hitters, a lot of guys that have major-league experience. That will be a good experience for him."
The Phillies entered the weekend with a 5.16 bullpen ERA. Only Houston's 6.09 was worse.
They shuffled righthanders Thursday when Luis Garcia was recalled and Shawn Camp jettisoned. Camp, 38, elected free agency Friday rather than report to triple A. Garcia was shelled in a 12-6 loss to Toronto for five runs (three earned) and two homers over two innings.
Giles will not be a savior, although he could soon provide help. Sandberg has kept daily tabs on the pitcher's progress. The team is being deliberate with his progress; Giles never pitched above single A before this season.
"It's just to make sure that he's ready to come here and stay here," Sandberg said. "The fact that he's going upward and having success, that's a positive thing."
Giles posted a 1.20 ERA in 15 innings as double-A Reading's closer. He struck out 29 and walked five, with seven saves. He regularly cracked 100 m.p.h. at Reading. But command of that pitch and his slider was sometimes fleeting prior to 2014.
The Phillies sought a replacement infielder once they decided it was time for Freddy Galvis to regain his confidence in the minors. Reid Brignac happened to bash three homers in the previous two days. The veteran earned a promotion Friday from triple-A Lehigh Valley.
"He's been the hot bat lately from the left side," Sandberg said. "He's also a veteran infielder who can cover some spots."
Brignac, 28, is not a power hitter; he has three homers in 154 major-league games since 2011. The former second-round pick never duplicated a decent 2010 season with Tampa Bay in which he hit eight homers with a .692 OPS.
Sandberg said the team opted to keep Cesar Hernandez at double-A Reading because of growing pains in his experiments at third base and shortstop.
Galvis, 2 for 42 this season, will play shortstop every day for Lehigh Valley.
"I missed a lot of at-bats," Galvis said. "That's why I'm going down, to get my at-bats, try to get my approach and try to swing the bat better. I don't feel sad."
Jimmy Rollins (right groin soreness) started at shortstop for the first time since Sunday. . . . Dillon Gee starts Saturday for New York. The Phillies scored 20 runs in 20 innings with seven homers against him last season.