Three pitchers were the latest to be sent back to minor league camp by the Phillies. Right-handers Mark Appel, Ricardo Pinto and Nick Pivetta were all told that they won't be making the club out of spring training, which was not unexpected. All three are on the Phillies 40-man roster, meaning that the Phillies had to option them to the minors. It is the first of three available options on each of the pitchers.
Appel made eight starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season before being placed on the DL in late May with elbow stiffness. A month later, Appel had surgery to remove bone chips from the elbow, ending his first season in the Phillies organization early. In those eight starts, Appel went 3-3 with a 5.17 ERA, with much of the damage coming in his last four starts, when he went a combined 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA. After going on the DL, Appel admitted that the elbow had been bothering him in those starts, but he attempted to pitch through the issue.
The 25-year old righty pitched in four games with the Phillies this spring, striking out 10 in nine innings, but allowing four walks and posting a 5.00 ERA.
The Houston Astros made Appel the first overall pick in the 2013 Draft after he had been drafted by Pittsburgh and Detroit in two previous drafts, but went unsigned. The Phillies acquired Appel from Houston in the deal that sent reliever Ken Giles to the Astros.
RELATED: Read Meghan Montemurro's article on Appel at the crossroads from delawareonline.com.
Pivetta was also acquired in a trade, which sent Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals in July of 2015. Pivetta split his 2016 season between Reading (22 starts) and Lehigh Valley (five starts), going a combined 12-8, 3.27 with 8.4 strikeouts-per-nine-innings. Pivetta has a minor league ERA of 3.72 over four minor league seasons. It's likely that Pivetta will join a prospect-studded rotation at Lehigh Valley to open the season.
While in big league camp, Pivetta appeared in three games and pitched to a 2.25 ERA in those games with the Phillies.
Pinto signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent in December of 2011 and spent last season at Reading, where he finished 7-6, 4.85 in 27 games, 25 of which were starts for the Fightins. In his minor league career, Pinto is 33-23 with a 3.20 ERA with 82 starts to his credit. In major league camp this year, Pinto threw 3 1/3 innings in three games, allowing just one hit, no runs, no walks and striking out three batters.
RELATED: See where these pitchers rank on our Top 50 Prospects list.