Aaron Fultz biggest claim to fame coming into camp was that he dated Charlie Manuel's niece. As Fultz once joked, he didn't know if that would help or hurt his chances of making the club. Apparently, all is well with the family and Fultz was welcomed into the Phillies family with a roster spot.
Fultz will serve primarily as a left-handed specialist. His numbers show that is probably the best situation for him to be in. Lefties hit just .212 off Fultz last season, while right-handers hit .314 against him. Over the last three seasons, lefties stand at .241, while righties have hit .321 with Fultz on the mound. The Twins seemed to have figured that out too late last season and Fultz saw his ERA balloon to over the 5.00 mark before all was said and done. The Phillies learned from the Twins' mistakes and will use Fultz to get out left-handers and will likely pull him off the mound immediately after he's accomplished his goal. In other words, when Fultz warms up in the bullpen, expect a right-hander to be right by his side.
Fultz was originally drafted by the Reds in 41st round of the '91 Draft. He never signed with Cincinnati, figuring that he would do better if he went back into the draft the next season. He was right; The Giants took Fultz in the sixth round in '92 and he started his major league career with San Francisco in 2000. He was on the Giants postseason roster in both 2000 and 2002, even though he started the 2002 season back in the minors.
After wearing out his welcome in San Fran, it was on to the Rangers in 2003 and the Twins for the 2004 season. Overall, Fultz numbers haven't been overly impressive, standing at 14-11, 4.85 after 286 major league appearances, all in relief.
The Phillies wasted little time in claiming Fultz off waivers when Minnesota cut him loose last fall. All along, the plan was for Fultz to be used only as a left-handed specialist and not in a full relief role. The theory is that Fultz will prosper in his new role and that would be just fine for what the Phillies are looking for. The addition of Fultz would free Rheal Cormier to pitch in longer relief, rather than being the needed lefty to get particular hitters out. This spring, even though Charlie Manuel didn't use Fultz strictly against lefties, he was impressive.
Aaron Fultz Career Stats
|Year / Team||W||L||ERA||SV||G||GS||IP||H||R||ER||BB||KO||HR|
|2000 San Francisco||5||2||4.67||1||58||0||69.1||67||38||36||28||62||8|
|2001 San Francisco||3||1||4.56||1||66||0||71.0||70||40||36||21||67||9|
|2002 San Francisco||2||2||4.79||0||43||0||41.1||47||22||22||19||31||4|