One of the biggest challenges for Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee so far this spring has been reeling in Mike Adams.
The team’s new setup man, feeling good again after offseason surgery, has been like a frisky colt, ready to run. Adams has cranked it up in his bullpen sessions to the point where he’s had to be reminded, in a kidding way, to save a few bullets for when things matter.
“He almost looks too ready for right now,” Erik Kratz said after catching Adams in live batting practice last week. “The ball is coming out of his hand real well.”
A longer than usual spring training (to accommodate the World Baseball Classic) has allowed Dubee to bring Adams along slowly. On Thursday, the righthander’s wait ends. He is scheduled to pitch one inning in relief against the Atlanta Braves at Bright House Field. It will be the first of about eight appearances that Adams will need to be ready for April 1, when things get going for real.
The Phillies blew 13 eighth-inning leads last year. Adams has been one of the best eighth-inning men in baseball the last handful of seasons. Since 2009, the 34-year-old Texan has a 1.84 ERA and 112 holds, tops among relievers with 200 innings or more. He is expected to handle the cleanup on Aisle 8.
“He has a chance to carry a lot of weight because that was such an Achilles heel for us last year,” Dubee said.
Said Adams: “I feel if we have leads, we have a pretty good chance to keep them.”
Adams pitched with a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome last season and his ERA swelled to 3.27. In simple terms, TOS is a condition that causes nerves to become squeezed between the top rib and collarbone causing “heavy arm” and numbness in the fingers, both bad things for a pitcher.
Rarin’ to go, Mike Adams will pitch Thursday
CSN Philly | Feb 28