Exchange Phillies for Padres reliever James Norwood

CLEARWATER, Florida – The Phillies traded Wednesday for an assistant pitcher who could end up in their season opening bulps.

Righthander James Norwood, 28, was taken over from San Diego for Kervin Pichardo, a 20-year old infielder who played in the low minors with the Phillies last year.

Norwood was out of options and had been assigned for assignment by the Padres. He will be on the 40-man roster of the Phillies and will either stay with the big club for next week’s opening game or be designated for assignment.

Nine days before the season opener, the composition of the Phillies’ bullpen is uncertain.

Corey Knebel, Brad Hand, Jeurys Familia, Seranthony Dominguez and Bailey Falter are locks and Cristopher Sanchez and Nick Nelson look set. That leaves three spots, as Major League Baseball will likely allow teams to carry 10 relievers out of the gate.

One of the remaining three spots could be filled by Norwood. Jose Alvarado and Connor Brogdon could fill the last two places when they are ready. Alvarado recently suffered from neck/shoulder tightness. On Wednesday, he was able to throw in the bullpen. Brogdon was slow to build up speed and that’s something the team is looking at.

Sam Coonrod (shoulder) will open on the injured list. If Alvarado needs to join him or Brogdon needs extra time to build up speed, the Phils can fill the remaining spots with Damon Jones, Ryan Sherriff, Francisco Morales or a non-roster reliever like Braeden Ogle.

Morales, a 22-year-old right-hander, is a homegrown prospect who has worked as a starter during his time in the minor leagues. He recently started working as a reliever in a minor league camp. He has strikeout stuff and a plus slider. The role change could facilitate a rise to the majors and perhaps soon, depending on the needs of the Phillies. Morales is on the 40-man roster.

Norwood has recorded good strikeout totals in the minor leagues. He has pitched parts of the last four seasons in the majors with the Cubs and Padres. In 27 big league innings, he has a 3.67 ERA. He has walked 5.7 per nine innings and struckout 8 batters per nine.

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