Dontrelle Willis released
The makeup of the Phillies bullpen is still very much in question with Opening Day less than three weeks away.
Jonathan Papelbon, Chad Qualls, Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo are locks. Then there are a bunch of guys, including Mike Stutes, David Herndon, Phillippe Aumont, Michael Schwimer, Brian Sanches, Joe Savery, Jake Diekman, Justin De Fratus, David Purcey, Raul Valdes, Jeremy Horst, Dontrelle Willis left to fill out the final three spots.
Wait. Check that. Dontrelle Willis's name has been taken off that list.
The Phillies released Willis this morning, shortly after the team left for this afternoon's game against the Pirates in Bradenton.
Willis signed a $850,000 non-guaranteed major league contract in January. If he had stayed on the roster through March 17, he would have been owed one-sixth of that contract.
Earlier this spring, I asked Willis about the nature of pitching on a non-guaranteed contract this spring. His response was surprising: he didn't know it wasn't guaranteed.
“You’d have to ask my agent that, I think it’s guaranteed,” a slightly puzzled Willis said last month. “I hope it is. Or else I’ve got to fire him, you know what I mean? I think it’s guaranteed.”
But after thinking about it, Willis seem unconcerned.
“I never look at it. Who cares?” Willis said. “It’s not about the money for me. It’s not like I have one of thee big deals like the starters. That’s irrelevant. I just want to get people out. You know what I mean?”
In the getting-people-out department, Willis' results were mixed at best.
Willis pitched a clean inning Thursday against the Atlanta Braves. But his previous two outings were pretty shaky.
Willis' outing Thursday was his first since allowing four runs on three hits and two walks March 7 against the Houston Astros. Following that game, Willis complained of arm soreness.
Willis faced 16 batters this spring; nine reached base. Right-handers went 4-for-8 with 4 walks against him.