Right-hander Scott Mathieson continues the comeback from his second Tommy John surgery, starting at the lowest rung with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. The Phillies are being very cautious with Mathieson, using him out of the bullpen and giving him rest between outings. Mathieson has responded with five innings of work, giving up just three hits and two walks, while striking out six. What he hasn't given up are any earned runs and opponents are hitting just .150 against him.
"He's throwing very well," said Phillies minor league director Steve Noworyta. "Coming back from a second Tommy John, is tough, but so far, Scott's progressing well. His velocity is coming around we're excited about his progress." Noworyta is glad to see Mathieson having success and credits his personality with helping to get him healthy. "This is a good guy. He has kept a good attitude about everything and that makes his return even better, because he is such a good guy."
Keep in mind that Mathieson just turned 25 in February, so don't count him out even though he's essentially starting over on the ladder back to the majors. Noworyta believes that the Phillies are taking the right path in just allowing him to progress slowly.
Mike Zagurski is returning from Tommy John surgery and has pitched well for Double-A Reading. The former major leaguer is 26 and actually started the season at Clearwater before moving to Reading on late April. In 24 appearances, Zagurski has recorded four saves in six opportunities and has a sturdy 3.49 ERA. As with Mathieson, the Phillies are choosing to err on the side of caution and aren't pushing Zagurski faster than they feel is good for him. So, will he be at Triple-A Lehigh Valley anytime soon?
"We'll have to see. We're not going to rush him, but we're also not going to hold him back longer than we think is necessary," stressed Noworyta.
Brown suffered a broken finger a month ago, but is close to returning to action. Galvis has been out for two months after finger surgery, but he should return before long as well. "They should both be back by the middle of the month," said Noworyta about Brown and Galvis.
Brown was off to a good start at the plate for Clearwater, hitting .299 with nine home runs in 187 at-bats. The injury was unfortunate, because Brown would have likely had himself in position to have earned a promotion to Double-A if not by now, then very soon. Galvis, who is known more for his defensive skills than his offense, is just 19 years old and was hitting .250 at Clearwater when he went down with the injury.
Another of the walking wounded, shortstop prospect Jason Donald, is also getting close to returning. Donald went down with a torn meniscus on June 12th and was expected to miss three or four weeks, which would have put him back with the IronPigs by about July 10 and Noworyta says he's on pace to return to the club either just before or just after the All-Star Break.
Noworyta also had good things to say about left-hander Sergio Escalona, who has been shuttling between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley. "He's got the mentality to handle going back-and-forth," explained Noworyta. "When you look at him, he's smiling and just soaking it all in. When he's with the big league club, he's obviously glad to be there, but when he's back here [Lehigh Valley], he realizes it's because he's still got a few things to learn and work on." Escalona is just 24 and started the season at Double-A Reading before moving to Lehigh Valley just before Memorial Day.