Thursday, April 8, 2010

Figueroa Rejoins Phillies

Former Phillie and, more importantly, Brandeis alum (as am I), Nelson Figueroa will return to the team where he first made his mark, as the Phillies claimed him off waivers from the Mets. Figueroa has yet to pitch this season, but has done solid work for the Mets over the last two years as a reliever and a spot-starter. Last year he was particularly strong, posting a 4.10 ERA and throwing a complete game shutout against the Astros (who are conveniently the Phillies' next opponent).

He came to the Phillies in 2000 as part of the trade that sent Curt Schilling to the D-backs, in exchange for Figueroa, Omar Daal, Vicente Padilla, and Travis Lee. (Remember when Travis Lee was a hot prospect?) Figueroa got the call-up in 2001 and joined the rotation on June 26th. He faced the Braves in his debut, allowing one run in 7 1/3 innings but getting the loss. He pitched quite well over his first nine starts, going 4-2 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP, but struggled late in the season. His next four starts saw him go 0-4 with a 5.87 ERA, after which he was moved to the bullpen.

In April 2002, the Brewers claimed him off waivers and since then he has bounced around, pitching for the Brewers, Pirates, the Nationals' AAA affiliate, then going abroad for a few years. He pitched in the Mexican, Chinese, and Venezuelan leagues, before making a triumphant return to the Majors as part of the Mets.

While Figueroa's career numbers are not overly impressive (4.54 ERA, 1.45 WHIP), a lot of the innings he's logged have been as a starter. He's fared considerably better as a reliever, posting a 3.44 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. He's not likely to be a crucial member of the team, but he's good enough to log some quality innings out of the bullpen and can provide a start or two if needed.

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