And here come the lefties.
Ruben Amaro’s on a bit of a tear this week, fattening up the minors with some pitching talent that many have been complaining is all but gone. Truly, it could have been said that if somebody shook the farm system a few weeks ago, it would have sounded like a pebble inside an empty soda can. And that pebble was Dominic Brown.
But now, everybody’s in talks for a minor league contract. At least, everybody Ruben’s deemed worthy, and it’s been proven the guy’s an exact-o-knife for talent.
This time, it’s not a victim of Tommy John surgery or a former Yankee with the speed of a ravenous pit bull locked in on a basket of kittens. Two Japanese pitchers, just released by their own club, the Yokohama Bay Stars, are being mulled over by the Phillies brass.
Shigetoshi Yamakita and Naoyo Okamoto are our newest additions; lefties, both of them. Which is good, because with Scott Eyre choosing his family over baseball (LAME) and J.C. Romero recovering from the chopping block past Opening Day, a left handed reliever is a precious commodity for us these days. Obviously, younger talent will come into play here, probably in the form of Antonio Bastardo or Sergio Escalona. We’ll have to wait and see who blows management’s doors off at Spring Training.
The 32-year-old Yamakita was 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA, while Okamoto, 26, went 1-0 with a 5.28 ERA. But really, right now, the important thing is which arm they use to throw the ball.
So Ruben’s finding a way to fill the gaps, whether it be with people already in the farm system, people being brought into the farm system, and then there’s always a lost and found of elder statesmen available for some left-handed relief, if it comes to that.