Photo by Cheryl Pursell

Jake Thompson was slowed early in camp with a sore thumb, but in two outings, he's looked perfectly fine.

Jake Thompson isn't likely to start the season in Philadelphia, but he is likely to be the first one to get a phone call if the Phillies need rotation help. In two spring outings with the Phillies, the right-hander has shown good stuff on the mound.

It was a simple slip and fall, but as usually happens when it's an athlete, the part that gets injured is key to their game. In the case of Jake Thompson, it was his right wrist, and although not serious, the Phillies weren't taking any chances.

Last Thursday, Thompson pitched in his first game with the Phillies in relief of Vince Velasquez in the fourth inning. Thompson came on with two outs and nobody on base and got the final out of the inning with ease. Thompson went on to throw two more perfect innings, retiring all seven hitters he faced, two on strikeouts. Fast forward to today when Thompson was the starting pitcher against the Minnesota Twins and gave the big league club three shutout innings, allowing two hits and walking two batters, in addition to striking out two batters. That gives Thompson 5 1/3 shutout innings, giving up just two hits, two walks and striking out four with no runs allowed.

http://www.scout.com/mlb/phillies/story/1763489-the-benefits-of-being-a-... Thompson had an impressive season with Lehigh Valley last year posting an 11-5, 2.50 mark in 21 starts with the IronPigs. In 129 2/3 innings, Thompson had a 1.095 WHIP, allowing just 37 walks and striking out 87 batters. Thompson went up to Philadelphia late in the season and started 10 games at the big league level, but his command, which has been a key to his game, left him. He issued 28 walks to go with 32 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings of work. Probably some nerves and pushing himself a little too much to impress the big league staff played into his lack of command. To see Thompson, 23, regain that command and pitch well in his first two outings of the spring is a good sign.

The Phillies acquired Thompson as part of the Cole Hamels trade with the Rangers in 2015, a trade which has brought so many good, young players to the Phillies that it's hart to tell who the center piece of the deal actually was. The truth is, we still don't know who it will turn out to be.

At Lehigh Valley, Thompson will lead a rotation likely to include Mark Appel, Zach EflinBen Lively and Nick PivettaAlec Asher and Adam Morgan are two other potential starters for the 'Pigs, but the Phillies are also toying with converting either or both of them into a reliever. In fact, in Tuesday's start, Morgan came on in relief of Thompson and delivered three shutout innings, giving up just one hit and one walk, while whiffing two. On the spring, Morgan has now pitched in five games and has allowed three earned runs over 12 1/3 innings, with two walks and nine strikeouts, posting an ERA of 2.19 in big league camp.

It's likely that when the Phillies need an extra starter either because of a slump, an injury or a trade, Thompson gets the call, and he'll be much better prepared for the majors this time around than he was the first time. The majority of the nerves and pressing should be gone when Thompson does return to Philadelphia, which would seem to open the door for him to show the type of abilities at the major league level that he's shown in the minors.


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