The Phillies announced Monday that right-hander James Norwood has been designated for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster for fellow right-hander Michael Kelly, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phils also reinstated catcher Rafael Marchan from the 60-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A.
Acquired from the Padres in an offseason deal that sent minor league infielder Kervin Pichardo to San Diego, Norwood has pitched 17 1/3 innings of relief out of the Philadelphia bullpen but has been tagged for 17 earned runs in that time. The damage hasn’t been confined to one or two poor outings, either, as Norwood has yielded runs in eight of his 20 appearances on the season so far. Overall, he’s yielded 24 hits (two of them homers) and nine walks while punching out 22 batters.
Norwood is out of minor league options — a large reason he was designated by the Padres in the first place — so the Phils couldn’t send him down without first designating him for assignment. They’ll have a week to try to trade him or pass him through outright waivers now. The former seventh-rounder has a decent track record in Triple-A, a fastball that averages just under 97 mph and a splitter that gets him plenty of chases and whiffs. Add in a decent track record in the upper minors, and it’s not out of the question that another bullpen-needy club would want to speculate via waiver claim or perhaps a small trade.
As for the 29-year-old Kelly, he’ll make his big league debut whenever he steps onto the mound for the first time. It’s the culmination of a 11-year baseball odyssey for the 2011 No. 48 overall pick. Originally selected by the Padres, Kelly also spent time with the Orioles, Astros and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League before joining the Phillies as a minor league free agent this winter. He’s pitched to a lackluster 5.00 ERA in 18 innings with the IronPigs so far, but Kelly has also punched out 33.8% of his opponents in that time.