PHOENIX — The Phillies' search for stretch-drive bullpen depth has led them to Vinny Nittoli.
The team acquired the right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays in a minor-league trade Wednesday. The Phils sent minor-league catcher Karl Ellison to the Jays to complete the deal. The major league trade deadline passed on Aug. 2, but teams are still allowed to make minor-league deals. Both Nittoli and Ellison are on minor-league contracts.
Nittoli joins the Phillies organization before Wednesday's midnight deadline for gaining postseason eligibility. The Phillies are expected to select his contract from Triple A and have him in the bullpen for Friday night’s game in San Francisco. Teams are allowed to add two extra players as rosters expand from 26 to 28 on Sept. 1. In addition to Nittoli, the Phils are expected to add a position player for Friday night’s game. The club is off Thursday.
Nittoli is a 31-year-old right-hander. He has pitched one inning in the majors in his career. That came last year with Seattle. He gave up a two-run home run. He has spent this season with the Triple A clubs of the New York Yankees and Blue Jays. In 32 games, he had a 3.30 ERA, 59 strikeouts and 14 walks in 46 1/3 innings.
Nittoli was allowed to opt out of his minor-league deal with the Yankees in July. He had a similar opt out with the Jays this week, but the club first traded him.
Ellison, 27, is a backup catcher who has spent time at High A Jersey Shore and Triple A Lehigh Valley this season.