Butto happy for second chance with Phillies

Francisco Butto started his career in the Phillies organization, but wound up taking a detour on his way up the minor league ladder. Now, he's back with the Phillies and happy to have a second chance with the team that originally signed him.

The Phillies first signed Francisco Butto as what they thought was a 17 year old right-hander out of Venezuela. It turned out that he was 19, which hurt his prospect status a little, but he still seemed to have a decent future ahead of him.

Eventually, he became a top 20 prospect in the organization, but was signed away by the Yankees as a minor league free agent prior to the 2006 season. A year later, he was unwanted by major league clubs and headed south of the border to pitch in the Mexican League, which Butto says was actually a good thing.

"My experience in Mexico was very good for me, because I could come back to the United States sometimes. It's a good league and they helped me a lot," said Butto.

Of course, pitching in Mexico doesn't compare to pitching for an affiliated minor league club and being on a path toward the majors. "It's good to be back with the organization that signed me and I'm happy to be at Triple-A," related Butto.

His time in Mexico was highly successful and after two seasons in Mexico, he had a record of 6-4 with an impressive 3.23 ERA. He also struck out 111 hitters in 108 2/3 innings of work and perfected how to pitch in relief rather than being the starting pitcher that the Phillies had at one time envisioned him to be.

"It was tough, not knowing how I was going to be used," said Butto of bouncing back and forth between starting and relieving. "In Mexico, I knew I was going to be a reliever and I got very comfortable with that."

Butto mixes a two-seem fastball, a split-finger and a curve and it's enough of a weaponry to help him be successful.

The Phillies didn't sign Butto until March 18, so he didn't have a full camp to work out any kinks, but showed enough to start the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

"I just came in to do my job and I think everybody feels real happy with how I did," believes Butto.

The kid who was originally thought to be a 17 year old pitching prospect is now about a month away from his 29th birthday and has learned a lot. He's matured personally and is in better control of his career with a better approach to getting hitters out.

"I'm definitely a better pitcher now. I'm more mature and work harder at what I have to do to be successful," said Butto.

Francisco Butto's career stats

Minor League totals 39 42 3.45 204 68 6 621.1 545 289 231 42 254 540 1.29 .236
Mexican League totals 6 4 3.23 93 0 0 108.2 106 43 39 6 38 111 1.32 .257

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