Saturday, June 28, 2008

Phillies Fielding Offers of Bullpen Help

Veteran left-handed pitcher Tony Cogan -- a 32-year-old former major leaguer coming back from shoulder surgery -- is trying to persuade the Phillies he can once again be a capable middle reliever.

The former Stanford standout -- 2-1 with a 1.11 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 33 innings for the independent Gary RailCats -- is trying to demonstrate versatility, durability and effectiveness by converting back to starting. Cogan led the Northern League with 25 saves coming out of the bullpen last year during the league's 98-game summer season.

Cogan must extricate himself from his Northern League obligations in order to sign a minor league contract with Double A Reading, then continue to demonstrate his worthiness under the watchful eye of pitching coach Rich Dubee.

For the week ending June 1, the Chicago area native was 2-0 with a 0.63 ERA, striking out 10 in his last 6.2 innings for the period.

Cogan was drafted in the 12th round of the 1999 draft, pitching 39 games with a 5.84 ERA as a middle reliever for the Royals in 2001. He was released and signed with the Cardinals two years later, but went down with a shoulder injury after a tough spring.