Phillies pick up Figueroa off waivers

WASHINGTON -- Nelson Figueroa has been claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies, who hope the right-hander can bolster an injury-depleted bullpen.

The 35-year-old was designated for assignment by the New York Mets on Monday. He was 3-8 with a 4.09 ERA in 16 games, including 10 starts, for the Mets last year.

With relievers Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero starting the season on the disabled list, the Phillies are hoping that Figueroa can add stability to the bullpen while pitching in long relief.

"He's got good command and he knows how to pitch," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We wanted a guy who could build our pitching up."

Manuel expects Figueroa to report for Thursday's game at Washington. Philadelphia will make a roster move at that time for the pitcher, who comes relatively cheaply with a $418,000 salary.

Figueroa, who has started 49 of 106 games in the big leagues, also could be used as a spot starter.

"We don't have a lot of options if guys get hurt," Manuel said. "We definitely need some inventory."

Figueroa pitched for the Phillies in 2001 after he was acquired from Arizona in July 2000 for Curt Schilling. In seven seasons with Arizona, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and the Mets, Figueroa has gone 13-28 with a 4.54 ERA.