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Stutes, Biddle among Phillies' first spring cuts

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Right-hander Michael Stutes and left-hander Jesse Biddle were among the first players cut as the Phillies reduced their roster Saturday. Stutes made 57 relief appearances in 2011 but has battled injuries since. Biddle is rated the Phillies' top pitching prospect by MLB.com.

Stutes and right-hander Luis Garcia were optioned to Minor League camp. Biddle, outfielders Aaron Alther, Kelly Dugan and Leandro Castro and catcher Sebastian Valle were reassigned to the complex.

Biddle, 22, was in big league camp for the first time. He had a 12.00 ERA in two relief appearances and will now have the opportunity to get stretched out.

"I've learned a lot from all these guys," he said. "There are a lot of positives that I've taken away from it.

"I know I'm not going to start in the big leagues this year, but my goal is to be here. So to just be able to show my face, show my work ethic, show the way I go about things is a good thing. But then also to be around the guys who are very successful. Getting one inning in a big league game [Saturday] is nice. But I'm a starter and I'd like to start some games and get my innings in. But whatever they want me to do is what I'm going to do. If they want me to play shortstop, I'll do it."

The 27-year-old Stutes admitted he was surprised to be sent out this early.

"I didn't expect it to be the first round," he said. "The last couple outings weren't what I expected. They weren't what they needed to be. I'm just trying to get my body back to where I need it to be to get people out. It just didn't work out."

"They [manager Ryne Sandberg and pitching coach Bob McClure] just said that I needed to work on keeping the ball down, getting ahead of hitters. That was the overall theme."

In three Grapefruit League appearances, he allowed seven earned runs in three innings.

Stutes, who has one more option, was asked if he's completely healthy after dealing with shoulder issues in 2012 and biceps tendinitis last season.

"I'll pass on that," he said.

The Phillies now have 51 players in camp, including 15 non-roster invitees.

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

{"event":["prospect" ,"spring_training" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ,"spring_training" ] }
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