Phils option struggling Floyd to Minors

Phillies option scuffling Floyd to Triple-A

LOS ANGELES -- Enough was enough.

Gavin Floyd's performance on Thursday provided the final evidence for the Phillies to option the struggling right-hander to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday. Left-hander Eude Brito was recalled to take his place on the roster and will start on Saturday against the Dodgers in place of Jon Lieber.

Lefty Cole Hamels, who made a rehab start on Thursday for Class A Lakewood, is scheduled to start in Arizona on Tuesday, Floyd's regular day.

Floyd didn't come to Dodger Stadium on Friday. He met with manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee in Manuel's hotel room on Friday morning.

"He was half-expecting it," Dubee said.

"He was more understanding than I thought he'd be," Manuel said. "He knows he has to go down there, pitch to our expectations and pitch winning baseball."

After winning a job by posting a 3.16 ERA in Spring Training, Floyd stumbled though nearly all 11 of his regular-season starts. Thursday's performance continued the common theme of falling behind, missing spots and not being able to minimize damage.

The right-hander suffered through another short night against the Dodgers on Thursday, lasting four innings in a 7-2 loss. He allowed all seven runs on seven hits and four walks, including three home runs.

"It's rough," Floyd said after the game. "I'm having some rough times right now."

For the second straight start, Floyd didn't last five innings, and he hasn't worked six innings since May 5. His ERA rose to a National League-high 7.29 and was the second-highest in the Majors to Carlos Silva's 7.81.

It wasn't all bad for Floyd, who threw 6 2/3 strong innings against the Pirates and five shutout innings against the Mets. There just wasn't enough of it.

"He showed glimpses of the Gavin we thought we were going to get, and sometimes he struggled," said catcher Sal Fasano, Floyd's handler for all but one of his starts this season. "I was his biggest cheerleader. I tried to help him out when I could. It's just to a point where he has to look down deep within himself and find something that will help him in his career."

Mainly, Manuel and Dubee want Floyd to refine his changeup, control it, and create a bigger disparity in speed from his 91 mph fastball and his 84 mph changeup. He also needs to work on throwing his curveball for strikes, something he's been unable to do.

"Basically, you're pitching with one bullet," Dubee said, referring to Floyd's fastball. "To do that at this level, unless you can absolutely paint -- carve that strike zone up to an unbelievable perfection -- you're going to struggle."

Floyd did. Over his past four starts, Floyd posted an 11.09 ERA.

"I look at a guy who's young and is having a hard time getting established at the Major League level," Manuel said. "He needs maturity. I knew there would be some growing pains. That's part of it. He's 23, and that's young. Somewhere in the next couple of years, he'll learn to relax. He'll look at it as, 'I'm going to be a good pitcher because I want to.'"

This is the second straight subpar campaign for Floyd, who compiled a 6.16 ERA in Triple-A last season, leading to whispers of concern from those who made him the No. 4 overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.

That's a point Dubee hammered home. While citing examples of Cy Young Award winners Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter, Dubee spoke to the point about Floyd's mental makeup. Does he have what it takes to pitch at this level?

"The competition [opposing hitters] isn't a threat," he said. "It should be a challenge. It intimidates him sometimes. Everything's life and death, and it doesn't need to be that way. This needs to be something that he enjoys doing. I'm sure he felt extra heat -- a lot of a lot of good players have had to go backward to go forward. Hopefully, he can get straightened out and get back up here."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.