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FRANK TALK MADE RELIEVER BETTER

If Ryan Madson makes a big score at the salary arbitrator's table in the winter, the Phillies can blame pitching coach Rich Dubee.

The right-hander, 28, was one of the stars of a late-season charge to the playoffs and entering Saturday has allowed one run in 10 postseason.

Madson had enjoyed pockets of success during his five-year career but nothing like this. In his past 22 appearances dating to Aug. 31, he has allowed just two earned runs in 241/3 innings. He has become the eighth-inning shutdown arm the Phillies had planned to pursue in the winter.

One of the biggest reasons is a frank spring training conversation with Dubee.

"It had an impact, absolutely," Madson said.

Dubee questioned Madson's preparation. He said he had too good of an arm to be such a pedestrian reliever. He told Madson he had the potential to be one of the best setup men in baseball and enjoy the financial rewards.

"I told him, 'You're cheating yourself and your family,'" Dubee said. "He hadn't stepped up. He has a total-package arm, but he hadn't pitched to his capabilities. I felt he should know."

Madson missed the final two months of 2007 with a shoulder strain. The Phillies believed slacking off on his exercises contributed to the injury.

"He's a lot more serious about his program now," Dubee said. "He doesn't have to be hunted down or coaxed into doing his work."

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