Stutes shows improvement in second outing

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Michael Stutes gave up a run on two hits Saturday, but he showed some improvement from his first outing of the spring, when he gave up two runs on two walks and a triple against the Tigers on Feb. 25.

Stutes recorded two quick outs to lead off the sixth inning Saturday, then Luis Jimenez stroked a single to center field and Josh Thole knocked a double down the right-field line. A throwing error on the play by right fielder Laynce Nix allowed Jimenez, listed at 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, to come all the way home from first base. Jimenez would have had a hard time getting home without the error, meaning Stutes would have had another chance at a shutout inning.

Stutes is part of a crowded battle for the last three spots in the Phillies' bullpen, but he's also getting back into the flow of the game after arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder last June. Before this spring, Stutes hadn't pitched in a game since last April 21, so Phillies manager Charlie Manuel expected it might take time for Stutes to round into form.

"He hasn't pitched since last year. He needs to work," Manuel said. "He'll get better as he goes out."

Back in 2011, Stutes put up a 6-2 record and a 3.63 ERA to go along with 58 strikeouts in 62 innings over 57 games.