The Phillies have placed LHP Antono Bastardo on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow ulnar neuritis, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported on Twitter. Ordinarily I’d be worried that the team lost a key reliever to a throwing elbow injury, but then they recalled RHP Scott Mathieson from AAA Lehigh Valley. You might remember Mathieson as the kid from Vancouver who flamed out in late 2006 before getting Tommy John surgery. Well, the 6-foot-3 Canadian, once the organization’s top pitching prospect, according to Baseball America, has reinvented himself as a flamethrowing reliever, boasting a fastball that touches 100 on occasion, as well as a hammer slider/sinker. Mathieson, now 26, has come back to post a 2.43 ERA and a 1.079 WHIP and 12 saves in 25 appearances for the Pigs thus far, striking out 34 batters in 29 2/3 innings. This comes on the heels of a 2009 in which he went 4-0 with an 0.84 ERA, a 0.897 WHIP, and 34 strikeouts in 32.1 IP across three minor league levels.
The top four relievers for the Phillies (Lidge, Madson, Romero, and Durbin), have not changed since 2008, but all four have struggled with injuries and inconsistency since then. Mathieson is a solid power righty out of the bullpen and one of very few young minor leaguers who can help the big club right now. It’s a truly exciting callup, and I look forward to seeing what he can do.