March 15, 2016
CLEARWATER, Fla. – With the Phillies on schedule to break camp two weeks from tomorrow (March 30), the cuts in camp will become more frequent. Two more pitchers were sent to minor league camp on Tuesday.
Right-handers David Buchanan and Alec Asher were optioned to Triple-A.
Both are starting pitchers that entered camp competing for jobs, but both are also more organizational depth guys that legitimate contenders for the rotation at this point. Buchanan and Asher went a combined 2-15 with a 7.64 ERA in 22 starts with the Phillies last season.
Buchanan broke camp with the Phillies a year ago and started the 2015 season as the third starter in the rotation. But a month later he had an 8.76 ERA after five starts and was sent down to Triple-A.
Buchanan had a 4.50 ERA (two earned runs in four innings) in two games with the Phillies this spring.
“It's part of the game,” the 26-year-old Buchanan said. “You never want it to happen. Obviously, you want to spend your whole career in the big leagues. It's another opportunity to work and to continue to build odd what I've been going this whole spring. I'm excited where I'm at mentally.”
Buchanan spent the winter building himself back up mentally after a trying 2015 season. But both he and Asher moved further down the starting pitching depth chart this offseason, when the Phillies acquired more pitching (Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton, Vince Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Mark Appel).
“I'm pretty sure that's where the mental training I've been doing this offseason is helping me because I'm not really concerned about that,” Buchanan said of whether he felt his future in the organization was more uncertain because of all of those new names. “I'm not putting my energy into that because I can't control that. All I know is I've done a lot of training to get myself in the right state of mind to do what I can do and control what I can control. So that's what I'm focused on now. I'm going to go down there, continue to pitch, continue to do what I've been working on and continuing to get better. As soon as the phone rings, I'll be ready to go.”
Asher, 24, had a 7.88 ERA (seven earned runs in eight innings) in three games this spring. He was one of the four pitchers the Phillies received from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade last July.
Asher went 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA in seven starts with the Phillies last season.