Jesse Biddle's road home to Citizens Bank Park just got a little longer.
The Phillies designated the 2010 first-round pick for assignment on Friday, less than four months after he underwent Tommy John surgery. It's the latest setback for Biddle, a product of Germantown Friends High School in Philadelphia who made 24 appearances between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season.
The move cleared a 40-man roster spot for southpaw Bobby LaFramboise, who was claimed off waivers from the Angels.
Drafted 27th overall in 2010, the Phillies' No. 21 prospect reached Double-A in three years. While earning Eastern League All-Star honors and a Futures Game selection, however, things began to unravel. Biddle began experiencing coughing attacks a month into the 2013 season and was diagnosed with pertussis, or whooping cough, which wore him down through the rest of the campaign. Biddle also battled plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the final month.
Biddle was the Phils' top prospect throughout 2013 but stalled the next year on his second stint in the Eastern League. After suffering a freak concussion during a hailstorm in Reading and, having gone 3-9 with a 5.03 ERA through 15 starts to begin the year, he was placed on the temporarily inactive list for a "mental break." The time off and a quadriceps injury he suffered in August limited Biddle to four more appearances -- one in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, two with Class A Advanced Clearwater and one with Reading. The struggles did not deter Philadelphia from adding him to the 40-man roster in November 2014 to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
The 2015 season started with a step forward as Biddle went 7-2 with a 4.24 ERA in 15 starts for Reading to earn his first promotion to Lehigh Valley. Struggles returned in the International League, where the now-24-year-old put up a 2-4 record and 6.25 ERA in nine starts. August was especially rough for Biddle, who was 0-4 with an 8.03 ERA and allowed 52 hits and 26 runs over 42 1/3 innings in five starts during the season's final full month.
Biddle experienced elbow soreness deemed mild tendinitis after the 2014 season and was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament last October. He underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 14 and is expected to miss all of the 2016 season, reducing the chances that another team might claim him on waivers.