PHILADELPHIA -- When the Phillies optioned 26-year-old right-hander B.J. Rosenberg to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 24, they converted the reliever into a starter. Not permanently, because they thought it would make him more effective coming out of the bullpen.
"A lot of it was to just kind of work on offspeed pitches, facing hitters a couple times through the lineup and maybe getting stretched out a little bit," Rosenberg said. "I think the main purpose was just to keep working on my stuff."
It seems to have worked. Pitching coach Rich Dubee commented on how much Rosenberg's slider has improved.
"I think my slider's gotten a lot better since I started doing that," Rosenberg agreed. "It's tighter and harder. I've changed grips on it. I'm just a lot more confident with it and able to throw it how I want to. And the consistency of my changeup is better, too. So I think it's paid off."
Another plus is that manager Charlie Manuel has talked for years about having relievers who can pitch more than one inning. Against the D-backs on Friday night, Rosenberg came in and retired all six batters he faced, striking out three.
"Even in the past, even to start the year off, there were only a couple times when I didn't go more than one inning," Rosenberg said. "So, yeah, I think I can go multiple innings, and it doesn't really affect me."