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Stutes ready to help Phillies' relief effort

WASHINGTON -- Mike Stutes offered the Phillies' bullpen some reliability as a rookie in 2011.

They hope he can provide more of the same this season.

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The Phillies on Friday recalled Stutes, who replaced Phillippe Aumont in the bullpen. Stutes went 6-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 57 appearances as a rookie, bailing out a bullpen that lost Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras to injuries. But Stutes then suffered a shoulder injury last season, which required surgery. After a rough spring when he battled his command, he went 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 20 appearances for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

He allowed just one run in his last 15 1/3 innings with Lehigh Valley before joining the Phillies.

"I feel like I've gotten quite a few innings down there and I've been throwing pretty consistently, so I feel like I'm all the way back, health-wise," Stutes said. "They obviously wanted to see me get more innings and throw on a consistent basis, since I missed all of last year. I feel like I went down there and proved that, over the first six, seven weeks of the season, or whatever it was."

Stutes said he feels a big difference from the beginning of Spring Training, when he was facing hitters for the first time in nearly a year, to his last appearance with Lehigh Valley.

"As a competitor, I'm never going to say, 'Oh yeah, I don't know where it's going,' or something like that," he said. "Not that I didn't know where it was going, but I was pretty rusty. I hadn't thrown to hitters in a while. The game speed kind of caught up to me a bit. Now I'm feeling very comfortable out there, and I feel a lot more in control than I did before."

Aumont went 1-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 16 games for the Phillies this season.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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