Power-armed prospect McGarry promoted to Triple A; Philly soon? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
In another indicator that the Phillies are strongly considering bringing pitching prospect Griff McGarry to the majors soon, the 23-year-old right-hander was promoted from Double A Reading to Triple A Lehigh Valley on Monday.
McGarry, a fifth-round draft pick out of the University of Virginia in 2021, has struck out 13.7 batters per nine innings in stops at High A Jersey Shore and Reading this season. He had worked exclusively as a starter until pitching two innings of scoreless relief for Reading on Friday night. McGarry did not allow a hit in that appearance. He walked one and struck out four. His fastball reached 99 mph.
Injuries and workload issues have taken a toll on the entire Phillies’ pitching staff in recent weeks. Phillies officials are gauging whether McGarry could contribute out of the bullpen, which is down two key arms in Seranthony Dominguez and Corey Knebel.
“We’re a little bit thin,” manager Rob Thomson said Friday. “He’s got a big arm.”
Phillies starting pitchers averaged just four innings in six games on the 1-5 road trip that the team concluded on Sunday. Trying to lock down a playoff berth for the first time since 2011, the team is looking for effective innings wherever it can get them. In particular, lefty Ranger Suarez is approaching a career-high in innings and he’s had difficulty getting through the middle innings in three straight starts. The Phillies could potentially pair McGarry and Suarez in the same game, or McGarry could be used in another bullpen role where his strikeout arm would be valuable.
McGarry’s weakness is the same one that Phillies’ pitchers exhibited on the recent road trip when they walked 29 batters, six with the bases loaded, in six games. He has walked 5 batters per nine innings this season.
The Phillies considered bringing McGarry to the majors when they were short handed going into Toronto in July, but he developed a blister on his pitching hand. In 79 1/3 innings this season, McGarry has pitched to a 3.18 ERA. He had a 2.20 ERA and allowed just 13 hits in 32 2/3 innings at Double A.
Lehigh Valley hosts Worcester at 5 p.m. Monday. McGarry is likely to get some work in that game as team officials monitor his readiness for a jump to Philadelphia in the not-too-distant future.
Two other potential stretch-drive bullpen additions will be busy Tuesday. Dominguez and Zach Eflin will both throw to hitters in a simulated game at Citizens Bank Park. That could clear the way for them to go out on a minor-league rehab assignment. Dominguez is feeling better after a bout of triceps tendinitis. Eflin has not pitched since June 25 because of right knee soreness. He has thrown off a bullpen mound twice in the last week and is eager to get back and contribute as a reliever.