Apr 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher B.J. Rosenberg (39) gets a new baseball form umpire Bill Welke (52) after allowing a home run in the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves defeated the Phillies, 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Hamels return could mean demotion to minors for B.J. Rosenberg

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Friday evening, the Phillies optioned Jonathan Pettibone to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, following a disastrous start. The corresponding move to Pettibone being sent down was callling up reliever Shawn Camp.

Camp is 38, and if you couple his age with the fact that he began the season in Triple-A, you could probably come to the conclusion that he doesn’t have a long-term future with the Phillies organization. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be optioned back to Triple-A when Cole Hamels is activated on Wednesday.

Saturday evening, we learned that Cole Hamels officially would make his season debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday. The Phillies will likely wait until Wednesday morning, or even early afternoon, to officially activate Hamels, which gives them time to make a decision on who they will send down to open up a roster spot for Hamels.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that Camp will get a cup of coffee with the Phillie and remain up for the first two games of a four game set with the Dodgers, before being sent down to make room for Hamels. Conventional wisdom wouldn’t factor in how putrid the Phillies bullpen has been thus far, and that one or two solid appearances from Camp (or more struggles from another reliever) could be enough for him to stay on the roster.

If I had to target ‘another reliever’ as being a candidate to be sent down, it would be B.J. Rosenberg, who has been tossing beachballs as of late. I don’t normally overreact to one bad week, but when the season is only a couple weeks old, and Rosenberg had as bad of a week as he did last week, it’s kind of hard not to.

Rosenberg entered last week, having made four appearances, with no earned runs being charged to him. Granted, it’s a short sample size, but it’s fair to say that after the first two weeks of the season, Rosenberg looked like one of the more promising arms in a faltering Phillies bullpen.Then last week, Rosenberg allowed three earned runs (including a grand-slam)  and didn’t record an out against the Braves. His biggest problem? He hung a pitch up in the zone that Dan Uggla didn’t miss. He came back Saturday, and pitched an 1.1 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. He followed that up yesterday afternoon, by hanging another pitch up in the zone to start his inning, which allowed Jordan Pacheco to smoke a triple into the left-center field gap. Fortunately for Rosenberg, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley combined for an insane double-play, that got Rosenberg out of the inning unscathed. Still, his poor location was my takeaway from another inning in relief.

While Camp has yet to make an appearance in a game, a minor-league stint could allow Rosenberg to fix his location issues and get his confidence back up, which would be crucial for someone who could still play an integral part in the Phillies bullpen in 2014.

Again, the Phillies have until Wednesday to make any decisions, and in that time Roseberg could have an impressive inning or two, that saves him from a trip down the turnpike to Lehigh Valley. But a humbling trip down there, could prove to be more beneficial for both Rosenberg and the Phillies over the course of a 162 game season that they still hope to compete in.

Tags: B.J. Rosenberg Philadelphia Phillies

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