With very little playing time and a lot of offensive struggles, Aaron Altherr wasn’t really benefiting from his time in the majors. With that in mind, the Phillies optioned Altherr to Lehigh Valley. They also optioned struggling reliever Mark Leiter Jr. to Lehigh Valley. Taking their roster spots are starter Zach Eflin, who was activated off the DL, and reliever Yacksel Rios.
Altherr, 27, opened the season on the Phillies 25-man roster and was getting the majority of the playing time in an unofficial platoon with Nick Williams. Struggling almost from opening day, Altherr went 0-for-4 on March 31st and saw his average fall below the .100 mark for the first time in the season and it stayed there until a pinch-hit double on April 18 brought it to an even .100 level.
Williams started to hit more as the season went on and it became more difficult for Altherr to get at-bats. He did eventually push his average over the .200 mark, reaching .211, the highest mark he has had this season since opening day when he went 0-for-3. This month, Altherr had played in just 14 games with 23 at-bats and was batting just .130 in July.
It’s likely that Altherr will be playing everyday for the IronPigs.
Leiter has a 5.74 ERA in 11 relief appearances this season with Philadelphia and was hit for three earned runs in two innings against San Diego on Sunday. Between last season and this season, Leiter has made 11 starts and 27 relief appearances with the Phillies and has a combined mark of 3-7 with a 5.08 ERA in the majors.
Eflin had been on the DL with a blister on his right middle finger. The injury caused him to miss his final start before the All-Star break but he will start tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Eflin is 7-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 13 starts with the Phillies this season.
Rios joined the team for Sunday’s double-header as the 26th man on the roster. Rios had pitched in 24 games earlier this season with the Phillies and posted a mark of 3-1 with a 5.01 ERA. The 25-year old right-hander has a 5.11 ERA in 13 games with Lehigh Valley this season and had recorded one save prior to his promotion on Sunday.