ANAHEIM, Calif. — The latest bullpen shuffle carried Edubray Ramos across the country, and as he hugged his Phillies teammates before Wednesday's game at Angel Stadium, the Venezuelan righthander gained an understanding of the new landscape.
"I'm happy that some of my teammates in triple A have earned the opportunity to be here as well," Ramos said through a team translator. "But what I really want to do here is gain the confidence of the manager back and do my job."
The Phillies like Ramos. He possesses late-inning stuff, and he returned to the majors with a late-inning role despite a five-week sojourn to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Ramos was installed as one of Pete Mackanin's most trusted arms.
"Most likely," the manager said, "out of necessity."
Ramos allowed nine runs in 1 1/3 innings over an eight-day span in late June. He was the loser in five of seven games, a remarkable feat for a reliever. He looked broken. He was prone to emotional collapses, like the time he threw at Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera earlier this season. He, in many ways, needed to mature.
A trip to the minors can accomplish that.
"The No. 1 thing was to change my attitude," Ramos said. "The last week I was here in the big leagues, I didn't have a good attitude. Things weren't working for me. My attitude wasn't helping."
The 24-year-old righthander threw strikes in the minors. He posted a 1.54 ERA in 11 2/3 innings.
So Ramos returned with newfound confidence in his game. The last two months are important for him. He can carve a spot in next season's bullpen.
Ramos signed with the Phillies for no bonus in 2012. He just wanted an opportunity after St. Louis had released him as a teenager. The Phillies are happy to provide him a second chance to stick in the majors. For good.
"I feel really good. I gained a lot of confidence. What I wanted to do in triple A was work hard and get my confidence back. I feel like I did it."
Daniel Nava was activated from the disabled list Wednesday and started in right field. Nava, 34, could be traded later this month in a waiver deal. He was sidelined for the minimum 10 days with a strained hamstring. Outfielder Cameron Perkins, who had a .553 OPS in 65 plate appearances, was optioned to triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Mackanin started Nava because Aaron Altherr's right hamstring nagged him again. "It's annoying," Altherr said. The Phillies did not expect Altherr to miss a prolonged period.
"He could play," Mackanin said, "but I don't want it to flare up on him."
Hyun Soo Kim started in left field because Nick Williams was sick.
Drew Anderson pitched the eighth inning Tuesday of a 7-1 Phillies loss. His first career strikeout victim was Mike Trout. He allowed two runs, one earned, and was optioned back to double-A Reading after the game. Ramos replaced Anderson on the roster.
He earned a cool $2,923.50 for his one day in the majors. And he'll always have that strikeout.
"You know what?" Mackanin said. "The runs that scored aside, he struck out one of the best players — arguably the best player in baseball. I was thrilled that he did that. He had a smile on his face."
Anderson's first pitch to Trout was a curveball that sailed over the imposing hitter's head. "I started to settle down a little bit, but it was all adrenaline," Anderson said. He threw a fastball and a curveball for two called strikes. Then, he fired a 94-mph fastball that Trout foul tipped into catcher Andrew Knapp's mitt for strike three.
Anderson was the 11th Phillies player to make his major-league debut in 2017. The modern franchise record is 15 debuts in the 1996 season.
He flew across the country Tuesday to meet the Phillies. He had another long day of travel Wednesday.
"It was a good experience," Anderson said. "I can't wait to do it again."