Klen­tak brings in re­liever Neshek

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Rob Par­ent rpar­ent@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Reluc­tantSE on Twit­ter

One of Phillies gen­eral man­ager Matt Klen­tak’s stated off­sea­son goals was up­grad­ing his bullpen, a mis­sion he be­gan in earnest Fri­day by ac­quir­ing veteran right-handed re­liever Pat Neshek from the Hous­ton Astros.

Neshek, 36. who comes over for “a player to be named later or cash con­sid­er­a­tions,” went 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 43 strike­outs in 60 ap­pear­ances (47 in­nings pitched) with the Astros last sea­son.

The Phillies ex­er­cised Neshek’s $6.5 mil­lion club op­tion for the 2017 sea­son.

“I think last year we saw for much of the sea­son we were re­ally com­pet­i­tive in save sit­u­a­tions in the sev­enth, eighth and ninth (in­nings) with (Edubray) Ramos, (Hec­tor) Neris and (Jean­mar) Gomez,” Klen­tak said. “It’s a goal of ours this year to re­ally try to be com­pet­i­tive with the en­tire bullpen. We re­ally think Pat Neshek will help us in those ef­forts.”

Liken­ing the move to the ac­qui­si­tion of Jeremy Hel­lick­son last year as a short-term op­tion with longer-term pos­si­bil­i­ties, Klen­tak added, “Pat has had a re­ally strong three-year run. He’s con­trols the strike zone on the mound, which is some­thing we talk about a lot. He is out­stand­ing against right-handed hit­ters. We think he’ll be a good fit.”

In a phone in­ter­view Fri­day with the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle, Neshek said he was look­ing for­ward to “a lot bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties to pitch big­ger in­nings” with the Phillies. He had fallen into a mid­dle re­lief role last sea­son, par­tially due to Hous­ton’s ac­qui­si­tion of for­mer Phillie shut-down re­liever Ken Giles.

“It will be nice to pitch big in­nings, pitch more in­nings,” Neshek added. “Hope­fully I can run with that and do well.”

A 10-year veteran, Neshek has a 2819 ca­reer mark with seven saves and a 2.93 ERA in 423 games in st­ints with the Twins, Padres, A’s, Car­di­nals and the Astros (2014-15).

As far as the Phillies’ pay­back to the Astros, Klen­tak said, “At this point, this ac­qui­si­tion by it­self won’t af­fect any of the other play­ers in our bullpen or on our 40-man.”

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