Evan Phillips warmed up in the Dodgers bullpen on Wednesday night, but his services were not needed, thanks to a stellar performance by Mitch White to finish off a sweep of the Pirates.
But Phillips figures to get in a game soon enough, perhaps has early as Thursday’s bullpen game. The right-hander was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers on Monday, and added to the active roster on Tuesday. He’s just getting acclimated to his new team.
“I’m not afraid to say, I’m a little starstruck by some of these guys, still,” Phillips said Wednesday.
When Phillips gets into a game, he’ll be the 35th different Dodgers pitcher used this season, extending the franchise record. Well, unless Neftalí Féliz, who was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City, gets into a game first. Or maybe Shane Greene might officially sign, and pitch before either of them.
Greene would be another new teammate for Phillips, who is getting used to such a thing this month.
This isn’t the first time switching teams midseason for Phillips, who has pitched 57 major league innings over the last four seasons. He was part of the Braves’ prospect package sent to the Orioles at the trade deadline in 2018 for Kevin Gausman. But this year, Phillips is with his third organization in three weeks.
Phillips’ month began in Norfolk with the Orioles’ Triple-A team, but he was released by Baltimore on August 2. He found a new home quickly, signing a minor league contract with the Rays two days later. Phillips packed up his apartment in Norfolk, loaded up his car and drove to Durham, site of the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate.
Eight days after signing with Tampa Bay, Phillips was called up to the majors, and even earned a three-inning save last Friday in Minnesota. But the celebration was short-lived, as the Rays designated the right-hander for assignment on Saturday. The Dodgers claimed him off waivers on Monday.
“I carried whatever I had in my suitcase up to Boston, and then Minnesota. Once I was on waivers, I was able to travel back to Durham to get my car, then again all my stuff was in one place,” Phillips explained. “Then, flying out west, I have one suitcase and hopefully that gives me whatever I need for the rest of the season.”
Despite only being in the Rays organization for 10 days, Phillips was credited by Dave Roberts earlier this week with having “Rays pedigree,” which was fun. But in fairness, that was Phillips’ first day on the Dodgers’ roster, and there has been a brand new face just about every other day in the bullpen over the last two weeks.
It takes time to get to know everyone. Just ask Phillips.
“Any time you enter a new locker room, I think you walk on eggshells for a little bit, just to make sure you’re overstepping your boundaries. You want to feel everyone out and make sure you’re not doing anything wrong,” Phillips said. “But it’s all baseball, too. Once the pitchers are out playing catch, watching each other, learning from each other, the game starts, we’re competing together, it’s really easy when it comes to that.”