Phillies sign Chris Devenski, looking for pitching help


Phillies looking for stretch-drive pitching depth inside and outside the organization originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

PHOENIX -- The Phillies are very much on the prowl for stretch-drive pitching depth.

The club on Tuesday signed veteran reliever Chris Devenski to a minor league contract. He will report to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Devenski, a 31-year-old right-hander, was released by Arizona over the weekend.

Devenski was an All-Star with Houston's World Series championship team in 2017. The right-hander has been hampered by injury the last three seasons. He had Tommy John surgery in June 2021. The D-Backs let him go after he pitched in nine games in August. He allowed 14 hits and nine runs in 9⅓ innings over the span.

Rosters will expand from 26 to 28 on Thursday. The Phillies are expected to add one pitcher and one position player.

Manager Rob Thomson was asked if Devenski could be in the picture either later this week or at other points in September.

"Possibly," Thomson said. "We have to get our eyes on him first. He has playoff experience and down-the-stretch experience. He really gets left-handers out with that changeup."

Several other pitchers that could interest the Phillies have been set free in recent days. The list includes lefty Ross Detwiler, who was designated for assignment by Cincinnati on Tuesday, right-hander Garrett Richards, who was let go by Texas, and right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura, who was let go by Boston. The Phillies have had interest in Detwiler in the past. Players must be in the organization by September 1 to gain postseason eligibility.

In-house, the Phillies have Mark Appel, Francisco Morales, Ryan Sherriff and Michael Plassmeyer as depth possibilities. Prospect Griff McGarry has been on the big club's radar for some time, but he's had a problem with a blister on his pitching hand.

Zach Eflin remains another in-house possibility to help in September. The right-hander has not pitched since June 25 because of right knee soreness. He may have taken a positive step Tuesday when he threw a bullpen session.

"It was very good," Thomson said. "I watched. It was about 20 pitches, but he was getting after it pretty good. Now, we'll see how he comes out of it tomorrow. If all goes well, he'll throw another bullpen in San Francisco."

If Eflin contributes in September, it would likely be out of the bullpen.

"I would think so," Thomson said. "We'll see how it goes and how quickly he can ramp up. I would think conservatively, the bullpen makes sense. Sometimes a guy's stuff plays up out of the 'pen, just come in and turn it loose."

But first, Eflin's knee must continue to respond.

"I'm happy for him because he works tirelessly," Thomson said. "He wants to pitch and he wants to play and he wants to help the team. He's a good man."

The Phils seem pretty certain that they will get contributions from reliever Seranthony Dominguez and starter Zack Wheeler in September. Dominguez played catch at 90 feet for the second day in a row Tuesday as he recovers from triceps tendinitis. Wheeler, who has forearm tendinitis, played catch at 60 feet. The right-hander at first balked at going on the injured list then gave in to the club's desire to get him some rest and recovery. He projects to return to the rotation on September 6.

In other injury news, Nick Castellanos was not in the starting lineup for a second straight game Tuesday night because of turf toe. Castellanos compared the injury to jamming one's finger, except this happened to be his right big toe. He suffered the injury when he hit the first base bag awkwardly while running out a ball against the Mets in the last homestand.

"Rest is the treatment," Castellanos said.

He said it's getting better and does not envision needing time on the injured list.

"I don't think I'm far away," he said.

Thomson said Castellanos was available for pinch-hitting duty.

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