Surprising Phillies roster shakeup: Reliever demoted to Triple-A to replace rookie pitcher

Ahead of their weekend game against the Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies announced a series of roster changes that seemingly came out of nowhere, but upon closer inspection, made sense.

Despite holding a 9.0-game lead over the Braves, the Phillies faced three important games against their closest competition in the NL East, so they decided to add a fresh, longer pitcher to their bullpen before Friday’s game.

The Phillies have signed rookie right-hander Tyler Phillips from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. To make room on the 40-man roster for Phillips, reliever Luis Ortiz, who will undergo Tommy John surgery, was placed on the 60-day IL.

To make room on the active 26-man roster, right-handed reliever Yunior Marte was sent to Lehigh Valley.

Phillips, 26, was selected in the 16th round of the 2015 draft by the Texas Rangers and has never pitched in the major leagues. He has been part of the Phillies organization since being released in 2021.

The front office obviously wanted to add some length to the bullpen, as Phillips has served as the starter for the IronPigs this season. He has made 15 starts and posted a 7-3 record – including two complete games – with a 4.89 ERA and 7.63 K/9.

Yunior Marte is the outsider in the squad restructuring

Yunior Marte, the odd man out in the roster shakeup, was only recalled from Lehigh Valley on June 27 when Spencer Turnbull went on the injured list with a latissimus strain. In three one-inning appearances since returning to the Phillies, the 29-year-old has allowed two runs on four hits while allowing three strikeouts and two walks. In 15 MLB appearances this season, Marte has a 3.31 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings, two holds and one blown save.

He struggled a lot during his recent rehab from shoulder inflammation in Triple-A, and with MiLB options available, the Phillies had no problem sending Marte to the IronPigs to get some more work in. However, there’s a good chance he’ll be back in the major leagues soon, with Phillips making his debut this weekend and the team planning to send fresh arms through the bullpen.