By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Phillies’ bullpen has been an adventure so far in 2013. While Jonathan Papelbon has been lights out and Mike Adams has been pretty good for the most part when healthy, the rest of that unit has been inconsistent at best.
However, 25-year-old right-hander Justin De Fratus could be ready to help add some stability to the corps.
The Phillies 11th-round pick in the 2007 MLB draft, De Fratus was 3-0 in 13 games with AAA Lehigh Valley with a 1.89 ERA. Since being called up last week, De Fratus has made two one-batter appearances, retiring both and picking up the win Sunday in Arizona.
“I feel pretty good,” De Fratus tells KYW Newsradio. “Just been trying to go out and attack hitters and give myself the best chance to succeed.”
After getting a taste of the bigs for the first time with the Phillies in 2011, De Fratus probably could have made a real impact in the Phils ‘pen last season. However, he missed much of the campaign with an elbow issue. He didn’t arrive in Philadelphia until September.
“I felt 100% once I was off the DL last year,” De Fratus says. “It just took a little longer than we anticipated. But we wanted to make sure I was fully healthy last year before I got taken off the DL. Once I got back, I felt 100%.”
One thing you really have to like about De Fratus is the way he keeps the ball in the ballpark. In 20 career big league appearances, he has yet to allow a home run. And in 424.1 minor league frames, he has been taken deep just 14 times.
The California native is doing his best to enjoy the ride as he tries to stick in Philadelphia.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is patience,” De Fratus says. “And really to just enjoy every day, because you don’t know when you’re going to back down or stay up or what not. I just have learned patience and (also), in my time up here, that I do have the ability to get people out up here and to trust in my ability.”
De Fratus and the Phillies return to action on Friday night when they open a three-game series with the Reds at Citizens Bank Park.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.