Phillies option Brock Stassi to Double-A, bring up Nick Pivetta to majors

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Apr 10, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi (41) rounds third base after hitting a home run for his first major league hit during the ninth inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets defeated the Phillies 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi (41) rounds third base after hitting a home run for his first major league hit during the ninth inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets defeated the Phillies 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Phillies optioned Brock Stassi to Double-A in order to make room for Nick Pivetta on the major-league roster. He will start in Atlanta Monday night.

With Vince Velasquez injured and Zach Eflin demoted to Triple-A, the Phillies needed another starter for their game Monday against the Braves. The team opted to bring Nick Pivetta back to the majors to fill in. Brock Stassi was optioned to Double-A to make room for Pivetta.

Stassi had just 69 plate appearances this season and struggled, posting a .197/.290/.361 slash line in 35 games. He struggled to find playing time behind Tommy Joseph at first base, especially with Joseph heating up in May. Stassi spent some time in left field, but the outfield is crowded as well.

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com said Stassi was sent to Double-A so he could get at-bats. Rhys Hoskins is lighting the International League on fire with a .302/.396/.608 line in 55 games. Stassi would ride the bench in Triple-A, so he is headed to Reading to get more playing time.

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Kyle Martin is the starting first baseman at Reading, but he has a meager .634 OPS this season. Stassi will likely take over the position for Martin and should have a fairly easy time there considering he was in the majors.

Stassi made waves after making the major-league roster as a non-roster invitee in spring training. His story of a career minor-leaguer finally making the majors was inspiring.

Our own Mike Azzalina used it as a teaching moment for his second-grade class. His class got to talk with Stassi over Skype and met him at a game May 28.

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Monday will mark the beginning of Pivetta’s second stint in the majors. In four starts while Aaron Nola was on the disabled list, Pivetta had a 5.12 ERA with a 23.3% strikeout rate and 10.0% walk rate. He never went beyond the fifth inning, lasting 4.2 innings in each of his last two starts. He had to face several potent lineups in the Dodgers, Nationals, and Rangers.

In his two starts since returning to Triple-A, Pivetta allowed three runs in 13 innings, striking out 13 while walking none. Overall, he has a 1.41 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in five starts at Lehigh Valley this season.

Next: Ben Lively dominant in major-league debut

It will be intriguing to see how Pivetta fares in his second go-round in the majors.

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