Results tagged ‘ Brett Myers ’

Making Room for Pedro


pedro lehigh valley.jpgCharlie Manuel
got asked every which way he might shape the rotation once Pedro Martinez joins the Phillies.

J.A. Happ to the bullpen? Jamie Moyer? Martinez? How about a six-man rotation?

“It’s something we’ll go over when it’s time,” Manuel said before tonight’s game against the Rockies.

It would have made little sense for Manuel to spill the beans with Moyer scheduled to pitch tonight, Happ scheduled to pitch tomorrow night and Martinez scheduled to make a rehab start tomorrow night for Double-A Reading. Anything could happen before Martinez returns.

But the interest in this situation is legitimate and understandable. Happ has pitched remarkably well as a starter this season. He is 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA overall, and 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts since May 23. He ranks 16th out of 53 National League pitchers in ERA since May 23, which is better than Josh Johnson (3.12 ERA), Ted Lilly (3.75 ERA), Randy Wolf (3.98 ERA), Jamie Moyer (4.00 ERA), Johan Santana (4.09 ERA), Cole Hamels (4.57 ERA), Derek Lowe (4.65 ERA) and others.

But Happ might be headed to the bullpen because Moyer and Martinez are not seen as viable bullpen options. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said repeatedly the Phillies signed Martinez to be a starter (although also has said things could change). Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee has echoed that sentiment.

“I think what’s going to weigh into it is what our best options are,” Dubee said. “What’s going to give us a chance to win another World Series. That’s our goal.”

Wednesday will be Martinez’s third rehab start. And while he has bonuses in his contract based on relief appearances, if the Phillies considered him a relief pitcher they might be preparing him differently.

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The entire pitching staff is in flux. The Phillies have Brett Myers, J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin on the 15-day disabled list.

Myers, who is recovering from surgery on his right hip, started to jog Tuesday. He will throw a simulated game Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. Durbin, who has a strained muscle in his back, will make a rehab appearance Wednesday with Single-A Clearwater. Romero, who has a strained left forearm, will make a rehab appearance Friday. Condrey, who has a strained left oblique, is progressing slowly. The Phillies are going to make sure he heals completely before they bring him back.

If Myers returns throwing hard, he could become a nice weapon in the bullpen. He also could be an insurance policy should closer Brad Lidge continue to struggle. Lidge is 0-4 with a 7.11 ERA. His ERA is the highest in baseball amongst qualifying relief pitchers.

“He’s our closer,” Manuel said of Lidge. “Showing him confidence, that’s how he’ll get back on a streak. He’s very capable of doing that. He’s showed how good he is. I’m very positive. I have all the faith in the world in him. I know exactly what he can do.”

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Right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, who went 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA in five starts, already has been moved to the bullpen to make room for left-hander Cliff Lee.

“It’s tough, but having a former Cy Young winner it’s pretty understandable,” Lopez said. “It’s too bad he took my spot, but I want to win.”

Even with Lopez out there are too many starters and not enough spots for them, unless the Phillies would go to a six-man rotation. And what are the chances of that?

“Personally, I think it would be pretty tough,” Dubee said. “Organizationally, I don’t know.”

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Myers Could Be Back Next Month

myers closer.jpgThe Phillies remain a favorite to land Roy Halladay.

Many consider them the favorite.

But the Phillies could add a bullpen arm as early as mid-August, regardless of what happens with Halladay. AOL Fanhouse reported the Phillies scouted Diamondbacks closer Chad Qualls over the weekend. But we’re not talking about Qualls. We’re talking about Brett Myers, who said today he is “way ahead of schedule” and could be pitching out of the Phillies bullpen mid to late August.

“I knew in the back of my mind that I was going to be back this year, even when they said my season was over,” said Myers, who had surgery on his right hip June 4. “I had a feeling that everything was going to be OK.”

Here is what is interesting about Myers’ return, if it comes true. The popular theory inside the Phillies organization is that Myers’ hip injury cost him velocity on his fastball. Sure, he touched 92 mph this season, but he regularly sat in the 88-89 mph range. If the hip is healthy and he can add a few more clicks to his fastball, he could be a pretty effective relief pitcher for the final month and a half of the season.

“I think occasionally after the hip would lock up on me, I definitely didn’t try to throw the next one as hard as I threw that one,” Myers said. “I think it had something to do with me backing off just a little bit. But I definitely think I can throw harder. Anytime you come out of the bullpen you’re going to throw harder.”

Myers said he will throw a bullpen session Saturday. If that goes well, he will fly to Jacksonville on Sunday before he reports to Clearwater on Monday. He has been long tossing for about a week.

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Pedro Martinez will throw a simulated game tomorrow. He could make a rehab start Sunday.

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J.A. Happ on trade rumors that have him going to the Blue Jays in a Halladay deal: “I’m trying to do what I can to stay here. I don’t know if that’s going to be enough, but I’ll find out.”

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Charlie Manuel made his case for getting Halladay.

“I think that we’re definitely in a window, that period where we definitely have a chance to compete every year and have a chance to win every year,” he said. “I think that with all the talent that we’ve got, we need to put some more pieces around it. I think if we can do that, that’ll make us better.

“I think any time you put a team together — I’m definitely not here to do any other job but manage their team — but I’d say that the best possible team you can put on the field in the Major Leagues is what you want. And if you can always upgrade it or always put better talent on the field, why not do it?”

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Phillies and Martinez Getting Close?

pedro.jpgThere is a very real chance Pedro Martinez will be in the Phillies rotation after the All-Star break.

The Phillies said today they had not signed the free-agent right-hander to a contract, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had no comment when asked if the team had reached an agreement with Martinez. Amaro also offered no comment when asked if Martinez is headed to Philadelphia for a physical, which is standard procedure before a player signs.

“I’m not talking about Pedro, and I haven’t talked about Pedro,” Amaro said.

But Martinez, 37, told The Associated Press his agent is negotiating with the Phillies.

“The Phillies saw me this past Tuesday in a simulated game and I felt very good with my fastball and all my pitches,” Martinez said. “I feel the best I have for some time.”

Martinez said it is up to the Phillies and his agent to finalize contract details.

Phillies assistant to the general manager Charley Kerfeld watched Martinez throw on Tuesday in a simulated game against a Phillies summer league team in the Dominican Republic. Kerfeld came away impressed – Martinez’s fastball reportedly reached the low 90s, according to reports – that the Phillies have pursued him.

The Phillies have been looking for starting pitching help for most of the season. Their rotation has a 5.03 ERA, which is 15th in the National League. In an important side note, a baseball source told MLB.com tonight that signing Martinez will not prevent the Phillies from continuing their pursuit of Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay in a trade.

The Phillies recently called up right-hander Rodrigo Lopez to replace injured left-hander Antonio Bastardo in the rotation. Bastardo replaced right-hander Brett Myers, who had season-ending hip surgery last month

Lopez pitched well in two starts, but left Wednesday’s game against the Reds after the fifth inning because of inflammation in his right shoulder. He said Thursday he felt fine.

The Phillies don’t need a fifth starter again until July 20 against the Cubs because of the All-Star break.

Martinez is a three-time American League Cy Young winner, but went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA with the Mets last season. He last pitched for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

One report said Martinez signed with the Phillies for $4 million, but that is inaccurate. There is no chance the Phillies would sign Martinez for $4 million — unless that $4 million is prorated.

Has Martinez signed? Amaro said no.

Will he sign? I think he will.

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Shane Victorino won the NL Final Vote, which means he is headed to St. Louis next week.

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Pedro? Eh

manuel and martinez.jpgThe Phillies will watch Pedro Martinez throw tomorrow in the Dominican Republic.

Charlie Manuel, your thoughts?

“What I saw of him last year was, basically, he could give you five or six innings, probably,” he said. “His fastball is going to be 85-90, 86-90, somewhere in there. He’s still got a good changeup and he’s got a good curveball. He’s got a good feel for pitching. I haven’t seen him since last year.”

Manuel has said he is looking for a horse to replace Brett Myers. Manuel also just said Martinez is a guy who could go five or six innings — probably. Does that qualify him as a horse?

“When I talk about a starter, I’m talking about a guy who’s top of the rotation,” he said. “I’m talking about a one or a two. Some guy that can take us through seven, eight innings. Or when he goes out there to pitch, you think on that day, you’ve got a good chance of beating somebody or shutting somebody out.

“I think the five-inning pitcher, I think you can find those guys. Also, for myself — and don’t get me wrong, I want anybody that can improve our team, that means pitcher or position player or whatever — but at the same time, I’m a firm believer that in the Major Leagues today, if you go back and look and you look at All-Star teams and things like that, the good pitchers are young pitchers. Young pitchers with high-ceiling stuff, plus they’re good enough right now to throw strikes.”

That doesn’t sound like Martinez to me. The problem is, the young stud with the great arm probably isn’t going to be available.

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It was tough to find a photo of Manuel and Martinez, but I got one.

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Eyre Up, Escalona Down

The Phillies have activated left-hander Scott Eyre from the 15-day disabled list. They have optioned left-hander Sergio Escalona.

That leaves leftfielder Raul Ibanez, right-hander Brett Myers and right-hander Clay Condrey on the DL. Myers is expected to miss the rest of the season. Ibanez hopes to begin a rehab assignment this week, which would allow him to play in the All-Star Game on July 14 in St. Louis. Condrey is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today.

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The Tailspin Continues

werth 0702.jpgIt looks bad out there.

Real bad.

The Phillies have lost 14 of their last 18 games to fall into a first-place tie in the National League East with … the Marlins. The Mets are a game back. The Braves are two back.

In just three weeks, the Phillies have breathed life into the rest of the NL East.

“Without question, everyone has a shot in the division,” Braves leftfielder Matt Diaz said after last night’s 5-2 victory over the Phillies. “The Mets are going to start getting healthy. The Marlins are as solid as they appeared to be earlier in the year when everyone though they were the favorite. The Phillies are defending world champs. When they get (Raul) Ibanez back, that’s a different offense.”

How the heck has this happened? The Phillies have not hit, pitched or played particulary good defense. They have hit .233 and scored just 76 runs (4.22 per game) in this 18-game freefall. The rotation has a 5.23 ERA, and the bullpen has a 6.56 ERA with four blown saves. They have been hurt (Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Brett Myers, Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey). They have made mental mistakes.

“Times like this can build character for a team,” Chase Utley said. “That’s the way I look at it.”

The Phillies have looked flat at times, although it is easy to look flat when you’re not hitting or pitching or playing good defense. Charlie Manuel called a team meeting following a loss to the Blue Jays last Friday in Toronto. Manuel addressed a few things in that meeting, including his concern about distractions. That is something pitching coach Rich Dubee mentioned before Thursday’s loss.

“I feel like we’re coming to the park prepared,” Utley said. “We obviously haven’t been playing that well, but we haven’t seen a change in our attitude for the negative. It’s obviously a rough stretch. We’re definitely not making any excuses, but we do need to start playing better in all parts of the ball: offensively, defensively. We need to pitch better. That’s the bottom line. How do you do that? You stay motivated. You stay positive. You have to come to the field every day to prepare and prepare to win.”

The Phillies returned to Philadelphia last night for a nine-game homestand before the All-Star break against the Mets, Reds and Pirates. That normally would be considered a good thing, except the Phillies left Philadelphia for their just completed road trip following a 1-8 homestand — one of the worst homestands in the franchise’s 127-year history.

“Our game is not together,” Manuel said. “We’re all screwed up. The nights we hit, we don’t pitch. The nights we pitch, we don’t hit. We’re losing games late. We’re playing bad baseball.”

It can’t continue much longer, can it? 

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Jimmy Rollins snapped a career-worst 0-for-28 slump with a single to right field in the third inning. It was Rollins’ first hit since June 18, a span of 14 days and 12 games, four of which Rollins did not play.

“I got some hits, so that was good,” said Rollins, who went 2 for 4.

Is it a relief?

“Relief?” he said. “From?”

It had been a while.

“Yeah, I know,” he said.

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Ibanez Delayed Again

Raul Ibanez had been scheduled to begin a rehab assignment yesterday with Double-A Reading.

That got pushed back to today.

And that got pushed back to tomorrow.

The Phillies have said Ibanez has suffered no setbacks, but whatever the reason, there is little chance he could be back in the Phillies lineup before the end of the weekend against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Ibanez probably needs at least 10 to 12 at-bats in the Minors before he feels comfortable enough to rejoin the Phillies.

So if Ibanez’s workout today goes well, he could play tomorrow in Reading. We’ll see.

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Brett Myers had a follow-up exam with Bryan Kelly, the surgeon who performed his hip surgery. Myers can begin a throwing program in two weeks, although his return this season remains a long shot.

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What The Heck Just Happened?

manuel 062109.jpgI sense frustration out there.

That frustration is understandable. The Phillies have been in the National League since 1883, and fans just watched one of the seven worst homestands in franchise history. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.

Raul Ibanez and Scott Eyre went on the DL.

Ryan Howard checked into the hospital. Twice. (The Phillies said today that Howard has acute sinusitis. He will not fly with the team to Tampa tonight, but could fly there tomorrow and play tomorrow night in the series opener against the Rays.)

The continued to play without Brad Lidge and Brett Myers.

The bullpen continues to be overworked because the rotation can’t pitch into the sixth inning. The Phillies couldn’t come up with big hits. They had physical errors and mental errors.

Let’s break down the numbers from the first 58 games, when the Phillies were 35-23 and had a four-game lead over the Mets in the National League East, and the last nine, when they went 1-8 to fall to 36-31 with a two-game lead over the Mets.

Hitting
First 58 games:
They hit .263 with a .342 OBP and a .462 SLG. They scored 318 runs (5.48 per game). They hit 85 home runs (1.5 per game), walked 226 times and struck out 380 times (18.8 percent of their at-bats).
Last 9 games: The Phillies hit .235 with a .309 OBP and a .402 SLG during the homestand. They scored 38 runs (4.22 per game). They hit 13 home runs (1.4 per game), walked 30 times and struck out 83 times (25.7 percent of their at-bats).

Pitching
First 58 games:
They had a 4.60 ERA, striking out 7.1 batters per nine innings and opponents hitting .267 against them. Starters had a 5.28 ERA in that span. The bullpen had a 3.45 ERA.
Last 9 games: They had a 5.97 ERA, striking out 8.2 batters per nine innings and opponents hitting .314 against them. Starters had a 5.37 ERA in that span. The bullpen had a 6.88 ERA.

Fielding
First 58 games:
They had 19 errors and a .991 fielding percentage.
Last 9 games: They had eight errors and a .977 fielding percentage.

The one thing that jumps out is the bullpen ERA. The bullpen held the pitching staff together through its first 58 games, but the relievers look tired. They probably are. And if the starters can’t start pitching deeper into games and the front office can’t find a starter before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies might need to find bullpen reinforcements instead.

Yes, the offense struggled. Yes, the Phillies looked sloppy in the field. But I expect both of those things to correct themselves. This team will hit. This team will catch the ball. But will it pitch well enough to win?

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A reason not to panic: the American League is better than the National League, just like last season (the World Series notwithstanding). The Phillies remain one of the best teams in the National League and that should show up once Interleague Play ends, just like last season. Since the Phillies went 1-8 against the AL, the Mets and Braves are 3-6. The Nationals are 4-5. Only the Marlins have a winning record in their division at 6-3 since the Phillies started to play against the AL.

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Ibanez and Chase Utley still lead voting amongst outfielders and second basemen for the NL All-Star Team. Jimmy Rollins has fallen to second behind Florida’s Hanley Ramirez.

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I have not bought into the hype that the Phillies are less intense at home or try too hard at home. I just think for whatever reason they have played poorly at home. That said, I’m sure they are happy to begin a nine-game road trip tomorrow night in Tampa Bay.

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The seven worst homestands in Phillies history:

  • 0-7 – Sept. 21-27, 1964 vs. Reds and Braves
  • 0-6 – May 1-7, 1883 vs. Grays and Braves
  • 1-9-1 – July 6-20, 1941 vs. Giants, Pirates, Cardinals, Cubs and Reds
  • 1-9 – Aug. 9-19, 2004 vs. Rockies, Giants and Astros
  • 1-8 – May 4-13, 1937 vs. Cubs, Pirates, Reds and Cardinals
  • 1-8 – Aug. 20-29, 1979 vs. Braves, Astros and Reds
  • 1-8 – June 12 -21, 2009 vs. Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles

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The Perfect Storm


barajas 0618.jpgCharlie Manuel
talked yesterday about how the Phillies have not played good baseball for the past week.

There have been mental mistakes upon physical mistakes. They have not swung the bats well at times. The starters can’t get past the sixth inning and the bullpen looks exhausted. The exhaustion is one thing. It has been a long week. (I punch buttons on a keyboard for a living and I’m tired.) But Manuel was asked if he feels he needs to address his team about the sloppy play.

“I’ve been thinking about that for two or three days if you want to know the truth,” he said. “But at the same time with the way things are — we’re kind of beat up, we’ve got guys out, we come back in a game like we did today — I don’t know if that’s the right time to go in there and start screaming and hollering and cussing and throwing things. Don’t get me wrong. I’m headed that way, I guess. But I ain’t quite there yet. Maybe somebody ought to push me into it. But, no, I’ll get it when the time comes.”

The Phillies are banged up. They placed Raul Ibanez, the team’s MVP through 64 games, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. They’re hopeful Ibanez will be back on July 3, when he is eligible to be activated, but Ruben Amaro Jr. said it could be longer. The Phillies already are without No. 2 starter Brett Myers, closer Brad Lidge and left-handed specialist Scott Eyre.

Combine those things – the injuries, the extra-inning games, the rain delays, the mental and physical mistakes – with the return of the American League and no wonder the Phillies have lost 5 of 6.

But doesn’t this seem familiar?

The Phillies entered Interleaugue Play last year at 41-30 with a three-game lead over the Mets. But they won just 1 of 3 against the Red Sox before the Angels swept them at home. Then they lost 4 of 6 on the road in Oakland and Texas.

The Phillies entered Interleague Play this year at 35-23 with a four-game lead over the Mets. They had won 10 of 13. But they won just 1 of 3 against the Red Sox before the Blue Jays swept them at home. They host the Orioles this weekend before they hit the road to play the Rays and Blue Jays.

“We’ve had some mental mistakes over the last couple days,” Ryan Howard said. “You just can’t have that. You’d rather have it now than later obviously, but it is what it is.”

What it is is a perfect storm for losing. The Phillies just hope they can weather it through their remaining nine Interleague games.

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Rod Barajas had the last laugh.

He hit a game-winning homer in the ninth against Ryan Madson in yesterday’s 8-7 victory. Barajas, one of Philly’s most disliked athletes in recent seasons, is 8-for-16 with four homers and 10 RBIs against the Phillies since he left them following the 2007 season.

“I hear them,” Barajas said of Phillies fans. “I laugh at them. I joke around with [Chris] Coste or [Carlos] Ruiz, whoever is back there. When I go up to hit, Coste is booing me, too.”

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Posts might be a little infrequent this weekend because of a family affair, but I will when I can.

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Myers Walks!


myers 0527.jpgBrett Myers
is walking.

He has a limp, but he is walking. He had not been expected to walk until 10 to 14 days after he had right hip surgery June 4. But he is walking a few days earlier than that. And that is why Myers thinks there is a chance he could be pitching again for the Phillies in September, despite the fact Ruben Amaro Jr. said they are not expecting Myers to pitch again this season.

Myers is OK with Amaro’s assessment. He understands. But that does not mean he isn’t going to try.

“It’s not getting your hopes up because you don’t know,” Myers said. “There could be a setback to where it could take an extra two weeks. It could take an extra month. That’s a fair statement to make. But if I can come back quicker and I’m able to pitch again this year it’ll be hopefully good for me to get back out there to help the team.

“Realistically, I think I can possibly be back by September. As of right now, the way I’m starting to feel, barring any setbacks. You’ve just got to do what your body will tell you to do.”

It has not been easy for Myers to watch games at home. He is one of the more energetic players in the clubhouse.

“I didn’t realize how into the games I got watching them on TV,” he said. “I thought I was into it more when I was actually here. But it’s a little worse when I’m at home because I can actually scream at the TV. It’s pretty pathetic. People won’t watch the games with me because I can actually see if an umpire misses a call or something. I’m going, ‘You missed it!’ And I can’t even call anybody to tell them, ‘Hey, he missed that call.'”

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Bad news and good news for Scott Eyre.

The bad news: The Phillies placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf. Righthaner Kyle Kendrick took his place in the bullpen. Why Kendrick, who has been starting all season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley?

“Kendrick was supposed to pitch tonight, and also we needed some length,” Charlie Manuel said. “We felt like with all the Interleague Play we have coming up and who were playing and stuff, we might get into a situation where we need somebody who can throw anywhere from one to four, five innings. And that’s Kendrick. Our reports say Kendrick’s been throwing the ball pretty good. They say his changeup is really starting to show some improvement.”

The good news: The government released Eyre’s assets, which the government had frozen in February while investigating a financial fraud scheme.

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The Phillies drafted J.D. Drew in 1997. Nineteen Ninety Seven. Is it still necessary to boo him every time he hits?

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