Phillies call up pitching prospect J.D. Hammer

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: JD Hammer #84 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 20, 2018 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: JD Hammer #84 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 20, 2018 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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It’s Hammer Time as the Phillies call up one of their hard-throwing pitching prospects.

The Phillies have fulfilled the dreams of fans by calling up relief pitcher J.D. Hammer, a Rick Vaughn doppelganger with one of the coolest names in baseball history.

Coincidentally, Hammer replaces Pat Neshek on the 25-man roster after the veteran righty suffered a right shoulder strain.  Hammer and Neshek were traded for one another in a multi-player deal that shipped Neshek to Colorado in 2017 along with prospects Jose Gomez, and Alejandro Requena.

Reliever and free agent prize David Robertson moved to the 60-day injured list to make room for Hammer on the 40-man roster.

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The righty Hammer was promoted to Lehigh Valley on May 21 after starting the season with Double-A Reading. Through 14 games he has a 1.61 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 22.1 innings for the Fightin’s and IronPigs.

Philadelphia will now get an opportunity to see a reliever once ranked among their top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline. The 24-year-old has moved quickly through the system, appearing in Advanced-A Clearwater just last season.

Matt Gelb of The Athletic tweeted that he saw Hammer throw in Lehigh Valley with a 95-96 MPH fastball and a “sharp slider.”

Philadelphia’s bullpen has been taxed this season with more than 170 innings pitched this season. Neshek, Robertson, Edubray Ramos, and Victor Arano are each on the injured list, straining the bullpen’s depth even further.

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Vince Velasquez could potentially be moved to the bullpen full-time after a strong relief performance after coming off the injured list himself.