Right-hander Justin De Fratus would have been in the Phillies' plans had it not been for a right elbow strain suffered in early spring. The soon-to-be-25-year-old reliever returned to the IronPigs in mid-July and has made 16 effective appearances.
Beerleaguer: De Fratus pitched three shutout innings - a longer than usual load - in the IronPigs' 13-inning loss to Scranton Monday. De Fratus, who appeared in five games with the Phils last season, was considered the club's seventh best prospect entering the year by Baseball America and should be considered as something of a sleeper for next 2013 if he can put his elbow problems behind him. The right-hander uses a sinking fastball that tops out at 95, a slider and a change-up. But his best asset is that he's a strike thrower. In 19 2-3 innings with Lehigh Valley this season, he's boasting a 20/3 K/BB ratio.
Call-up primer: Saturday marks the date in which rosters expand, so we'll see whether the Phils feel comfortable extending De Fratus' season by a month. The Phils have several bullpen options still on the 40-man roster, including left-handers Jake Diekman, who they could showcase in more favorable matchups in September, Joe Savery, who has struggled with Lehigh Valley and could not distinguish himself in Philadelphia, and right-handers Michael Schwimer, a no-show at Lehigh Valley following his disagreement with management over his recent demotion, plus J.C. Ramirez, who has been a hot hand of late and showcased a live arm in spring training.
The Phils typically call up a conservative number of players in order to preserve team chemistry, but it's unclear what they'll do this season as they look toward 2013. I like the idea of De Fratus and Diekman. Aside from them, I'd like to see more from their current collection of active roster relievers instead of diluting the water with guys like Schwimer and Savery.
Ruf homers: Scorching hot 1B/LF/DH Darin Ruf socked his 36th homer Monday, placing him a homer shy of tying Ryan Howard's Reading franchise record of 37. Unbelievable.