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Gonzalez to make Major League debut against Cards

Phillies No. 15 prospect getting called up to fill in for injured O'Sullivan

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Severino Gonzalez pitched three scoreless innings in a Grapefruit League game against the Braves in March. He said afterward that while he felt a little nervous when he stepped on the mound for his first big league appearance, he reminded himself: "It's the same kind of baseball."

He will put that theory to the test on Tuesday night when he makes his Major League debut against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Gonzalez, 22, is the No. 15 prospect in the organization, according to He is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts this season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He's allowed 20 hits and two walks and struck out nine in 17 2/3 innings.

"I love Severino," Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said. "He's got a real good feel for the baseball -- where it's going with all of his pitches. He can't get by with mistakes -- he's not a power guy -- but he can pitch. We simply felt like he was the best option."

None of the Phillies' highly-regarded pitchers in Double-A Reading received consideration for the start.

"They need experience," Looper said about the Double-A rotation, which includes Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, Zach Eflin, Tom Windle and Ben Lively. "They need success. And I like for guys to get Triple-A experience. There has been success calling guys up from Double-A, and we probably will again. But the better progression is have some success there, then go to Triple-A and pitch against the more veteran hitters.

"They have some developing to do. We just felt like Severino is the right guy for the spot. It's a tough spot to break in, in St. Louis, but he'll be up for the challenge."

The Phillies need a starter for Tuesday because Sean O'Sullivan is on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left knee. Dustin McGowan started in his place last week, but he is not a long-term solution in the rotation.

Gonzalez could make at least one more start before right-hander Chad Billingsley potentially joins the rotation. Billingsley made a rehab start Saturday with Lehigh Valley.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter.
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