With an organization filled with solid prospects, the Phillies knew they were going to lose at least one player in last year's Rule 5 Draft. That player was left-handed reliever Hoby Milner, who was left unprotected after an impressive season split between Reading and Lehigh Valley.
Milner opened last season in extended camp, but was reassigned to Lehigh Valley on April 20th. He made two relief appearances, covering 5 1/3 shutout innings, but was sent to Reading, where he put together an impressive campaign, going 5-3 out of the bullpen and posting a 1.84 ERA in 38 relief appearances, covering 49 innings of work. The performance netted Milner a spot on the Eastern League's mid-season All-Star Team and he was pushed back up to Lehigh Valley in early Augus, but struggled in nine appearances with the IronPigs, particularly at the end of the season. In Milner's last four relief appearances, he pitched to a 9.64 ERA and finished the Triple-A season with a 4.50 ERA with Lehigh Valley.
Combining the two stops, Milner was 5-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 49 relief appearances, striking out 76 batters in 65 innings of work.
In his audition with the Indians this spring, Milner made seven appearances and gave up nine hits, walking three and striking out nine in seven innings of work, with his ERA at 9.00 on the spring. The Indians on Friday decided that Milner wasn't going to be a fit in their bullpen and offered him back to the Phillies, who paid had to return half of the $50,000 fee that the Indians paid to select Milner in the Rule 5 Draft.
The Phillies have Milner in their major league camp for now, as a non-roster invitee. They are looking for left-handed help in the bullpen, but it's likely that Milner will be reassigned to minor league camp and open the season either with Lehigh Valley or Reading.
Milner was drafted by the Phillies in the seventh round of the 2012 Draft. In his five minor league seasons with the Phillies, Milner is a combined 36-21 with a 3.53 ERA. Initially, Milner was a starter for the Phillies and made 66 minor league starts, but has been used primarily as a reliever in each of the past two seasons, making 78 relief appearances in his minor league career. As a minor league starter, Milner went 27-16 with a 3.88 ERA and is 9-5 with a 2.58 ERA in his career as a reliever.