Jake Diekman opened a lot of eyes this spring in a battle to make the Phillies as a left-handed reliever. The odds for Diekman were long coming into camp, but he was impressive in five shutout innings of work, allowing just two hits while striking out nine hitters.
Diekman pitched at Double-A Reading last season, pitching in 53 games, posting a 3.05 ERA and notching three saves. In 2012, Diekman will likely open the year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
In addition to Diekman, who was technically optioned to minor league camp because he is on the 40-man roster, the Phillies also sent veteran pitchers Scott Elarton and Brian Sanches to minor league camp. Both are likely to join Diekman on Lehigh Valley's roster.
Sanches pitched in 39 games with the Florida Marlins last season and pitched for the Phillies in parts of the 2006 and 2007 seasons, posted a 6.43 ERA in six games with the Phillies this spring.
Elarton started the spring having some success, but faltered in a couple of outings to wind up being reassigned to minor league camp. Elarton, 36, last pitched in the majors in 2008 and is attempting a comeback after being out of baseball for most of the last three seasons.