By SAMUEL BOTWINICK | Staff Writer
January 23. 2014, 7:30 p.m.
The Phillies' search for a set-up man might have just gotten easier. Mike Adams could be back in the bullpen by opening day.
The 35-year old right-hander is ahead of his reported recovery time for his torn rotator cuff, which he had surgery on last July. Adams has reportedly told the Phillies that there's no reason he can't be back by the first game of the regular season.
Adams' season was cut short by the surgery. After appearing in only 28 games last year, he compiled a 1-4 record with a 3.96 ERA.
These numbers could be skewed because his pitching could have been affected by the soreness in his shoulder, resulting in less fluid pitches. In his career, Adams has had a remarkably low 2.39 ERA.
With the uncertain bullpen options in the eighth inning, it would be quite beneficial for the Phillies to have Adams back as a set-up man. That could, however, take some time until he is fully acclimated to Major League hitting, meaning that the Phillies might need to let him pitch in less pressured situations first.
Either way, the jumbled duo of Antonio Bastardo and Jake Diekman could go back to more comfortable roles in the bullpen, pitching in the seventh, which would greatly enhance the Phillies' bullpen.