Hector Neris’ first trip to Triple-A Lehigh Valley lasted less than a week. His second stay figures to last quite a bit longer.
The Philadelphia Phillies announced Saturday that the 29-year-old reliever has been optioned to Triple-A for the second time this month. Mark Leiter Jr., who has bounced between the disabled list, Triple-A and the major leagues this year, has been recalled.
When Gabe Kapler tabbed Hector Neris to come on for the ninth inning of Friday evening’s game against the Washington Nationals, the Phillies were probably out of the game anyway, as they trailed 12-7. Neris completed the ninth inning, but not before he allowed three home runs and five total earned runs, doubling the deficit that the Phillies faced entering the home half of the ninth inning.
Just two seasons removed from posting a 2.58 ERA and recording 59 holds, Neris now sports a 6.90 ERA. His performance Friday was so disheartening for the Phillies because in his first two appearances after a brief stint at Triple-A, Neris struck out four and allowed zero hits against the New York Yankees, perhaps the best lineup in all of the sport.
Truth be told, the Phillies probably hoped Neris’ initial stint at Triple-A would last longer. The team had their hand forced when Edubray Ramos suffered a shoulder injury on Sunday Night Baseball. With Luis Garcia and Pat Neshek already on the disabled list, the Phillies were limited in their options to replace Ramos.
For those wondering, the Phillies did not have to designate Neris for assignment (and expose him to waivers) even though they used his final option earlier this month. A player can only have one option exercised throughout the season, regardless of how many times they are sent to Triple-A.
Additionally, the aforementioned Neshek told the collective media, including Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer, that while he would prefer to make one more minor league rehab appearance, he could be activated now if that’s what the Phillies want. In any event, Neshek figures to make his season debut this week, which the bullpen-needy Phillies will welcome.