ATLANTA -- Manager Charlie Manuel certainly has a plethora of options in his bullpen the final month of the season.
The Phillies recalled right-hander Justin De Fratus and left-hander Jake Diekman before Sunday's series finale against the Braves at Turner Field. De Fratus spent most of the season on the disabled list with a strained right flexor pronator tendon. Diekman went 1-1 with a 4.64 ERA in 23 appearances with the Phillies before being sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on July 31 to improve his consistency, particularly with throwing strikes.
"I'm so excited to be back here, man," De Fratus said. "The way the year started, I feel very blessed to be back here. That's for sure."
De Fratus went 0-1 with a 2.49 ERA in 17 appearances for Lehigh Valley. He allowed 15 hits, six runs and three walks while striking out 22 in 21 2/3 innings. He had an impressive 7.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which could put him in the bullpen next season if he can replicate that success in the big leagues.
De Fratus joins a group of inexperienced pitchers that includes Diekman, Phillippe Aumont, B.J. Rosenberg, Jeremy Horst, Josh Lindblom and Raul Valdes.
Manuel spoke Sunday about the two pitchers in the bullpen with the most potential because of their power arms: Aumont and Diekman. Both have had trouble throwing strikes. Aumont walked 6.9 batters per nine innings this season with Lehigh Valley, and has walked two in three innings with the Phillies. Diekman walked 6.3 batters per nine innings with the Phillies. In 12 appearances since his demotion, Diekman allowed 10 walks and struck out 15 in 11 1/3 innings.
If Aumont and Diekman can find the strike zone more consistently, they could be fixtures in the bullpen for years.
Diekman tried to work on that in Lehigh Valley, working with IronPigs pitching coach Rod Nichols on improving his mechanics.
"I feel really good with where everything is right now," Diekman said. "I've just got to keep on it. I attack the zone a lot more. Getting up on hitters [in the count]. That was the biggest thing down there."