Teams had until noon Monday (May 2) to cut their major league rosters down from 28 to 26 players. The higher roster number was incorporated because of the shortened spring training brought on by the lockout endured by Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association over the winter.
To get to the lower limit, the Phillies optioned two left-handed pitchers – Damon Jones and Cristopher Sanchez – to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Both pitchers had made the Phillies out of spring training. Jones had just recently been recalled to the Phillies when Bailey Falter was optioned to the IronPigs so that he could be stretched out as a starter rather than working out of the bullpen. Falter made his first start for Lehigh Valley over the weekend and went 2 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run.
Jones, 27, had thrown three innings without allowing an earned run for the IronPigs before being recalled. On the season Jones made four relief appearances, covering 4 2/3 innings with the Phillies and has a 9.64 ERA with five walks and five strikeouts.
Sanchez could join Falter in being stretched out to help the Phillies as a starter down the road. The 25-year old had been a starter in the Rays organization before being acquired by the Phillies. As a major leaguer, Sanchez has made 10 relief appearances and one start, which was last season. At Triple-A, 17 of Sanchez’ appearances were as a starter. With the Phillies this season, Sanchez had four relief appearances that covered 10 2/3 innings of work and he posted a 5.40 ERA. His career MLB ERA is 5.16.
With every minor league team having Mondays off, the IronPigs did not announce any concurring moves, which they will not have to do before Jones and/or Sanchez report to Lehigh Valley. The IronPigs open a six-game series in Syracuse on Tuesday. The IronPigs currently have 16 relievers on their roster, likely meaning that there will be cuts among that portion of the roster.