Decision on Floyd Not Easy To Make

Decision on Floyd Not Easy To Make

To deal with young players, it obviously helps to be a good talent evaluator. Of course, it doesn't hurt to be an amateur psychologist either, which is why the Phillies aren't sure what to do with pitching prospect Gavin Floyd once September rolls around.

Remember way back to the beginning of the season? Gavin Floyd made the Phillies club out of spring training and was in the starting rotation. On April 9th, Floyd made his season debut in St.Louis and stymied the hot-hitting Cardinals. Over seven innings, he allowed just three hits and no walks. From there, it was downhill. By the time he was sent to Scranton, Floyd's ERA had reached 14.14 and he looked completely and totally lost.

There are differing opinions on what that four game stint in the majors did to Floyd mentally. When he struggled at Scranton, it seemed to provide evidence that his psyche had been damaged by the bats of major league hitters.

As a AAA pitcher this season, Floyd is 6-8, 5.77 in 22 starts with the Red Barons. There have been signs of life since the All-Star Break and work with pitching guru Johnny Podres, with Floyd going 3-2, 4.22 since mid-July. The problem has been consistency. The 22 year old right-hander will be lights out in one start and lit up in the next.

It was always assumed that Floyd would return to the majors when the rosters expand next Thursday (September 1st). There is an old adage cautioning not to assume anything and it fits in the case of Gavin Floyd and his whereabouts in September. For the first time, the Phillies have publicly acknowledged that Floyd isn't a lock to return to the Phillies for what promises to be a September to remember.

Actually though, that might be just fine with Floyd.

Last week, when asked about a return to Philly, Floyd said that he wouldn't be devastated if it didn't happen. If Floyd is serious about that, then it is likely that he would be better left off the expanded roster. With the Phillies in a playoff hunt, anything that Floyd does - good or bad - would be magnified. With that sort of pressure, the Phillies are more inclined to let Floyd take a little time off and pitch in winter ball rather than returning him to Philadelphia.

The Phillies already have two young pitchers - Robinson Tejeda and Eude Brito - on their major league roster and both are likely going to stay with the club through the rest of the season. How much they'll pitch isn't clear. Brito went two weeks without throwing a pitch for the Phillies when he arrived from Scranton. When he did finally get to pitch this past Sunday, the results were much better than anybody could have hoped for. Even so, when he'll pitch again hasn't been determined.

As for Tejeda, he's in the starting rotation and has helped the Phillies staff immensely. He's been a pleasant and unexpected breath of fresh air for a staff that was hit with a season ending injury to Randy Wolf. Again though, how much will Tejeda pitch? His next start has been skipped because of off days and it's possible that he'll miss another start thanks to off days on Thursday (August 25) and next Monday (August 29).

It's likely that Floyd will make two more starts for Scranton and then rest up for winter ball. Even if something drastic were to happen to the Phillies' starting rotation, it could be Brito or Clay Condrey who would get the emergency call, leaving Floyd to wait until next spring to pursue reaching the majors again. Needless to say, there will be some question marks surrounding Floyd when spring arrives. A strong winter ball season would help to alleviate some of those concerns, but in the end, he'll have to show what he can do in the majors. That alone will be what helps to erase the memory of 2005 for both Floyd and the Phillies.

It appears that mentally, Floyd can handle a non-promotion. Everything appears fine physically with Floyd, so it's his mental condition that the Phillies are most likely going to concern themselves with from here on out. With that said, Floyd appears headed for winter ball while others look to help the Phillies this September when all along, it was supposed to be Gavin Floyd working his magic in the majors.

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