Phillies reliever rejects Triple-A for free agency as a new arm joins the bullpen

The Phillies continue shuffling the bullpen while saying goodbye to Ricardo Pinto, who opted for free agency over Triple-A.
Philadelphia Phillies v Cincinnati Reds
Philadelphia Phillies v Cincinnati Reds / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies have been forced to make a slew of roster moves this past week as Taijuan Walker returned to his spot in the rotation following a 15-day IL stint that was retroactive to spring training. The team recently announced that they have placed right-handed reliever Yunior Marte on the IL with shoulder inflammation.

The move to bring Walker back on the 40-man roster included designating right-handed pitcher Ricardo Pinto for assignment last Sunday.

After clearing waivers on Thursday, Pinto was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The team has since reported that Pinto has elected free agency instead of accepting his demotion to the minor leagues. He'll now have the opportunity to try to latch on with a new organization and see if there are other MLB bullpens with 40-man roster spots available.

Pinto got off to an incredible start with the Phillies after getting called up last minute and taking a six-hour car ride from upstate New York to make his first relief appearance during the April 2 game against the Cincinnati Reds. He pitched four innings and allowed only one earned run in a gutsy 12-out save that was the stuff of legends.

Since that performance, it has been all downhill for the 30-year-old. He was torched by MLB hitters, posting a 10.97 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP while noticeably struggling with command on the mound.

It's still possible Pinto will accept a spot with Lehigh Valley after looking into available opportunities with other ballclubs, but the chances of the right-hander being trusted with a roster spot with the Phillies again this season seems very unlikely.

Phillies call up José Ruiz with Yunior Marte placed on the 15-day IL

Yunior Marte has been one of the early season bright spots coming out of a Phillies bullpen still in flux as we enter the first week of May. On Friday, the team placed Marte on the 15-day IL with what has been described as right shoulder inflammation. He leaves behind a solid 2.70 ERA and 1.275 WHIP with 12 strikeouts and five walks in 13 1/3 innings.

With fellow right-handed reliever Seranthony Domínguez struggling to get big outs in high-leverage spots, the loss of Marte greatly weakens a Phillies bullpen that's working through some early-season struggles in a few spots.

The Phillies called up right-hander José Ruiz to take Marte's spot on the roster. The seven-year MLB veteran will try to carry over some of his early-season success with Triple-A Lehigh Valley to be a useful arm out of the Phillies bullpen. In 11 innings pitched in Triple-A this season, Ruiz has an ERA of 1.64 with three saves, 13 strikeouts and an impressive WHIP of 0.909.

With Marte out for at least a few weeks to begin May, it will be encouraging if Ruiz can slide in and provide some solid innings during his absence.