Aumont going back to where he started
Phillies stretching out prospect, who closed last season
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It sounds like Phillippe Aumont is starting from scratch.
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said that is not the case. He said Aumont simply is returning to what comes naturally.
Aumont, whom the Phillies acquired with Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez from the Mariners for Cliff Lee, allowed two hits and one walk in 2 2/3 scoreless innings Sunday in a 5-3 loss in 10 innings to the Rays at Bright House Field. Aumont replaced left-hander J.A. Happ with runners on first and second and one out in the third inning. After walking Carlos Pena to load the bases, Aumont got Pat Burrell to hit into a rally-killing double play on a 3-2 sinker.
"It was good for me today," Aumont said. "But we'll keep working on it. We're not trying to focus on the result right now, but it's always good when you have a good result. We're just trying to get comfortable and natural rather than be somebody else."
Aumont certainly looked more comfortable than last week, when he allowed two hits, five runs, three walks, one home run and one wild pitch in just two-thirds of an inning in an exhibition game against Florida State. He acknowledged after the FSU game that he wanted to make a good first impression being one of the pieces in the Lee deal. Aumont said Sunday that some members or the organization pulled him aside, told him to relax and "they're the ones that are living with the pressure" of the trade -- not him.
"The kid came in a big trade and hasn't had much baseball," Dubee said. "He comes in, he wants to impress. He's pressing a little bit."
Aumont also is working on a few different things. He is changing his arm slot from an over-the-top angle to a three-quarter angle, which has him throwing his power sinker again. He threw that way when the Phils scouted him before the Mariners made him a first-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. The Phillies showed him video of that delivery and asked him to go back to it.
Aumont also has added a different turn to his delivery and is trying to start again after working as a closer last year.
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"That's why he's on a five-day rotation, so he can get some side work and try to iron out some things," Dubee said. "His arm angle is getting better. He's finding his slot."
It seems like a lot to take in, doesn't it?
"He's a bright kid," Dubee said. "But we're not putting that much on his plate. We're trying to get him to being who he is naturally. I hate to confuse things and say we're doing a million things. During the course of the season with pitchers, especially Minor Leaguers, it's going to be trial and error. You're going to try something for a couple weeks. And by trial and error, you're going to try something and stay with it for a while. There are no quick fixes."
Extra bases: Manager Charlie Manuel said center fielder Shane Victorino, who has not appeared in a game because of a sore right shoulder, could make the trip to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to play the Braves on Tuesday night. ... Closer Brad Lidge is scheduled to throw batting practice for the first time Wednesday. ... Lefty reliever J.C. Romero still is throwing just fastballs off the mound, which means he is not close to throwing to hitters yet.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.