HomeTeamsPhilliesFamiliar Faces Buchanan and Pinto Return to Phillies Fold

Familiar Faces Buchanan and Pinto Return to Phillies Fold

Over the past few weeks, the Phillies announced that they had signed starting pitcher David Buchanan and reliever Ricardo Pinto to minor league contracts with an invitation to spring training. If those names sound familiar to veteran Phillies fans, they should. Both players were drafted by the Phillies, worked their way methodically through the Phillies farm system, and eventually appeared with the big-league club. Both also had indifferent success before leaving the team and beginning an international journey through numerous leagues.

Buchanan, 34, was drafted in 2010 in the seventh round out of Georgia State University. The Atlanta native was called up to the Phillies in May 2014 to replace an injured Cliff Lee. Buchanan made his debut on May 24, pitching five good innings and beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-3. He stayed in the Phillies rotation the rest of the year, posting a 6-8 record and decent 3.75 ERA. Buchanan was penciled in as the third starter for the 2015 season, but he struggled from the outset. Sent back to the minor leagues in May, he was up and down with the big club the rest of the season, finishing the year 2-9, with a 6.99 ERA. The Phillies released him at the end of the year.

Buchanan then signed with the Yakult Swallows in the Japan Central League. After three mediocre seasons in Japan, Buchanan signed with the Samsung Lions in Korea’s KBO League. Here Buchanan found his stride and became an All Star. In his four seasons in Korea, Buchanan compiled a 54-28 record with a 3.02 ERA.

Buchanan decided not to return to Korea this year and signed with the Phillies in January. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Alex Coffey, “This was a chance for me to complete my story. Do it all over again, from a completely different vantage point.” He feels he is a better pitcher now, with better control of his pitches and better control of his emotions. “In Korea, I learned not to get ahead of myself. If I have a bad game, that doesn’t define me. If I have a great game, that doesn’t define me, either.” The Phillies will be counting on him as rotation depth in case of injury to any of their top five starters Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, Taijuan Walker, and Christopher Sanchez.

Pinto, 30, was signed by the Phillies in December 2011 as a seventeen-year-old out of Guacara, Venezuela. “Pinto Bean”, as his teammates call him, made his Major League debut on May 31, 2017, when he pitched two innings of relief in a 10-2 blowout loss against the Miami Marlins. Pinto made 25 appearances out of the bullpen that season for the Phillies and was inconsistent, combining some very good outings with some very bad ones.

At the end of the season, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for international bonus slot money. He was released by the Sox and signed with the Tampa Bay Rays. He appeared in two games for the Rays in 2019, and then bounced around to several other organizations. He spent some time in Korea and Taiwan and last year in independent ball in Mexico. He got back on the Phillies radar by pitching very well (0.84 ERA in 10,2 innings) in helping Venezuela to the Caribbean Series Championship this February. The Phillies will hope that Pinto can provide some insurance when the inevitable bullpen injuries occur during the season.


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