MIAMI — The Phillies promised changes to their mediocre middle relief. The first happened after Wednesday's 3-0 victory when Phillippe Aumont was demoted to triple-A Lehigh Valley.
But Charlie Manuel made it clear: The team is still enamored of the hulking Canadian pitcher.
"He has all the potential in the world," Manuel said. "One of these days, Aumont has a chance to be a big-time back-end bullpen piece. But right now he needs to pitch and get regular work in to develop his pitches."
Aumont, 24, posted a 4.15 ERA in 16 games. He struck out 15 and walked 10 in 13 innings. Control was a constant issue, one that has followed Aumont to every level. All three of his inherited runners scored.
The Phillies will not announce his replacement until Friday. Mike Stutes is the top candidate to earn a promotion. The 26-year-old righty has a 0.59 ERA in his last 11 outings (15 1/3 innings) at triple A. Two years ago, he emerged as a trusted arm in Manuel's bullpen.
Stutes had shoulder surgery last summer and the team wanted him to accumulate more innings in the minors as he recovered. The results are there, and so too could be his promotion.
Meanwhile, Manuel will keep tabs on Aumont.
"We're going to always need pitchers," Manuel said. "He's definitely high on our radar as a prospect."