Results tagged ‘ J.A. Happ ’

More Testing for Utley, Polanco

No timetable to return for Chase Utley and Placido Polanco, but here’s what we know:

Polanco and Utley are getting further evaluations for their injured left elbow and sprained right thumb, respectively. Polanco saw orthopedist Steven Cohen yesterday in Philadelphia. He’s getting a second opinion tomorrow from orthopedist David Altchek in New York. Utley is seeing hand specialist Randall Culp today. He is going to get a second opinion tomorrow in New York from hand specialist Andrew Weiland.

The Phillies said they hope to have more definitive information tomorrow, when the team is in Pittsburgh.

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J.A. Happ made a rehab appearance last night with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow in Pittsburgh, where he will be evaluated. He likely will make another rehab start. Happ’s rehab ends July 7, so the Phillies will have to make a decision on him soon.

If they determine he is not ready for the big leagues, they could apply for a rehab extension. Pitchers have 30 days to rehab an injury once they make their first rehab appearance. Happ also has options. They could option him to Lehigh Valley if they can’t get an extension.

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Time to Snap the Streak?

Just looked it up: the Phillies tonight are trying to avoid being shutout four times in five games for the first time since …

August 23-27, 1974.

August 23: Lost 1-0 at Houston.
August 24: Lost 1-0 at Houston.
August 25: Lost 5-0 at Houston.
August 26: Beat the Reds in Philadelphia, 7-6.
August 27: Lost 3-0 to the Reds in Philadelphia.

The Phillies lost to Larry Dierker, Dave Roberts, Don Wilson and Jack Billingham in ’74.

The Phillies have not been shutout in three consecutive games since May 20-23, 1983.

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J.A. Happ threw 50 pitches in a bullpen session today in Clearwater, Fla. He will throw live BP on Sunday.

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Happ on the DL

Here’s a rundown of today’s news that J.A. Happ is on the DL, J.C. Romero took his place on the 25-man roster and Nelson Figueroa will make a spot start Saturday in Arizona:

  • The Phillies think Happ’s return to the rotation could be closer to weeks than a month. He is eligible to be activated as early as May 1 because he has not pitched since April 15. Happ had the same injury (strained flexor pronator muscle in his left arm) in 2007, so he is familiar with the injury. He said it has improved since his last start, but he still felt some discomfort in a 20-pitch bullpen session this afternoon. Happ will remain with the team and continue to throw, although he will not throw off the mound until they determine he is ready.
  • They do not think Happ needs further medical testing. He had a MRI last Friday.
  • Figueroa will pitch Saturday because the Phillies said he is their best option. Andrew Carpenter got bumped from tonight’s start with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but the Phillies said that was precautionary. I’m guessing they held him out in case Jamie Moyer got knocked out early tonight and had to use Figueroa.
  • The Phillies do not need a fifth starter until May 4 against the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park, which helps the Phillies while Happ and Joe Blanton are out.
  • Blanton could be back May 3, which means the Phillies would not need to call up a pitcher from Triple-A to take Happ’s spot. Blanton will make his second rehab start Friday with Double-A Reading. He could make his third and final rehab start next Wednesday.

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Placido Polanco is not in the lineup tonight, but he said he expects to play tomorrow night in Arizona.

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Happ on the Mend


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for happ 0805.jpgJ.A. Happ
sounds a frustrated man.

He will miss at least his next start because the Phillies said he has a “very mild” flexor pronator muscle strain in his left arm. Ruben Amaro Jr. said a MRI revealed no structural damage. Happ will try to throw in the bullpen Thursday, and the possibility still exists he could start Saturday in Arizona.

That is the best-case scenario. Another possibility is that Happ pushes himself and pitches before he is ready.

“You definitely can do more damage,” Happ said today at Turner Field. “That’s why it’s frustrating. I don’t have much to say about it, other than I just hope it keeps progressing. It’s progressing. It just needs to continue, that’s all. I know what it can do. I know it can be kind of a debilitating injury.”

Happ suffered a similar injury in 2007, when he made his Major League debut with the Phillies. The Phillies cancelled Happ’s participation in the Arizona Fall League as a result. He pitched without incident in 2008 and 2009.

“It’s not very good,” said Happ, asked about the first time he experienced the soreness.

Phillies fans might recall that J.C. Romero suffered similar soreness in his left forearm last season. Romero tried to rehab the injury, but ultimately required tendon surgery in October. Brad Lidge also had the same flexor pronator tendon surgery in the offseason.

“J.C. had a tear,” Amaro said. “He had a tear and it had to be tacked down. His was pretty significant and that’s why his was tacked down. Brad’s wasn’t as significant. It didn’t have to be tacked down. … (Happ) has some inflammation, which you classify as a strain. And it is viewed as a Grade 1 strain, so pretty mild. Could he have pitched in his turn? Probably. Would we want to risk it? Probably not. That’s what we decided just to push him back and see how he feels after two more down days and some rehab days.”

The Phillies do not need a fifth starter until Saturday. If Happ is unable to pitch, Nelson Figueroa could start. If Happ requires a trip to the disabled list, the Phillies would make a roster move at that time.

“That’s one the reasons why we’re trying to be cautious with him,” Amaro said. “Like I said, there’s no structural damage, but he’s got some inflammation there. Rather than risk it and push him we’ll be cautious. If he’s not 100 percent after his bullpen on Thursday we’ll do something else. You don’t want to risk any further damage.”

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Joe Blanton struck out two in two scoreless innings tonight in Single-A Lakewood.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Happ to Miss Next Start, Maybe More

The Phillies issued the following news release earlier today from Ruben Amaro Jr.:

“J.A. Happ experienced soreness in his left elbow after his last start. He was seen by Dr. Michael Ciccotti and had an MRI. The MRI revealed a very mild flexor pronator muscle strain. J.A. has been progressing and improving since then, but we will take a conservative approach and skip his next start. He is scheduled for a bullpen session on Thursday.”

Kyle Kendrick will open the three-game series against the Braves tomorrow night at Turner Field. Roy Halladay will pitch Wednesday and Jamie Moyer will pitch Thursday. Cole Hamels will open the three-game series against the Diamondbacks on Friday.

The Phillies don’t need a fifth starter until Saturday.

Happ could pitch Saturday, if his bullpen session goes well. Or they could have Nelson Figueroa make a spot start. Because the Phillies play no game April 29, they actually would not need a fifth starter again until May 4 against the Cardinals. Obviously, Happ could slide in anywhere along that timeframe if he feels better. And the Phillies certainly need him to feel better.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

The Pitching Picture

hamels 0418 2010.jpgCole Hamels pitched great yesterday, which almost made yesterday’s 2-0 loss to the Marlins feel like a victory.

Almost.

The way the Phillies’ rotation has looked lately, it needed Hamels to flash the signs he flashed in Spring Training, namely, that he looked like the ’08 Hamels, not the ’09 Hamels. I never thought Hamels pitched terribly in his first two starts, so I never worried. He had poor command against Washington on April 7 and was a check-swing away from allowing just one run through his first four innings against the Nationals last Wednesday. But there is no question the Phillies’ rotation needed somebody to step up other than Roy Halladay, who is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

Joe Blanton remains on the DL, although he could be back following the team’s nine-game road trip through Atlanta, Arizona and San Francisco. He makes a rehab start Tuesday with Single-A Lakewood. J.A. Happ (1-0, 0.00 ERA) has soreness in his left forearm and might miss his next start — maybe more. He will throw today at Citizens Bank Park. If he feels fine, he could start as early as Wednesday in Atlanta. If he doesn’t feel fine? It could be a problem. It goes without saying the Phillies need the rotation to stay healthy because the back end of the rotation is struggling: Jamie Moyer is 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA and Kyle Kendrick is 0-0 with a 17.47 ERA.

The Phillies don’t need a fifth starter until Saturday, so the Phillies can give Happ time to rest. But when Saturday rolls around in Arizona they’ll need a fifth starter. If Happ can’t pitch I’m guessing Nelson Figueroa takes the spot.

Tuesday is a big start for Kendrick. He not only is pitching for his spot in the rotation, but possibly his spot on the team. Kendrick took Blanton’s spot in the rotation, so when Blanton is back Kendrick is out. Finding a spot for Kendrick looks difficult, at least in the short term.

J.C. Romero could be back sometime during this road trip. He likely will replace Antonio Bastardo. Brad Lidge could be back following the road trip. I think the Phillies will try to keep David Herndon on the 25-man roster. (They must keep him on the roster or they likely lose him because he’s a Rule 5 Draft pick.) That means Lidge might take Figueroa’s spot in the bullpen. But if Blanton returns before Lidge, the Phillies might option Kendrick to the Minors and bring him back as the long man once they lose Figueroa. Figueroa is out of options and must clear outright waivers to send him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. As well as he has pitched, I can’t see that happening.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Turn Back the Clock, Keep Scoring Runs

astronauts.jpg

The Astros held “Turn Back the Clock Night” last night at Minute Maid Park to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first game at the Astrodome, which featured the Phillies. Houston’s grounds crew commemorated the event by dragging the infield wearing astronaut outfits.

Poor guys.

The Phillies wore replica 1965 road uniforms, which got thumbs up from Charlie Manuel and Ryan Howard. (If you liked them they apparently will be auctioned off. I’m not sure where, but keep an eye open on the Internet. They have all sorts of things on sale there.) The ’65 Phillies scored 654 runs (4.04 per game) in 162 games, which ranked sixth in the 10-team National League. It’s safe to say the 2010 Phillies have a more potent offense.

The Phillies have scored 41 runs (8.2 per game) through five games. That pace can’t possibly last, but where will the Phillies finish? Let’s take a look at how the Phillies offense has ranked in the National League since Manuel became manager in 2005.

2009: 820 runs (5.06 per game), first in the league.
2008: 799 runs (4.93 per game), second in the league.
2007: 892 runs (5.51 per game), first in the league.
2006: 865 runs (5.34 per game), first in the league.
2005: 807 runs (4.98 per game), second in the league.

The Phillies’ franchise record for runs is 944, which they set in 156 games in 1930. The Phillies would need to average 5.83 runs per game to break that record.

So where do they finish this year? What’s the magic number?

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Manuel let Jamie Moyer hit in the sixth inning because he needed to give his bullpen a break. As well as the Phillies have played the first week of the season, the bullpen had pitched a combined 12 innings the previous three games because Cole Hamels went five innings Wednesday, Kyle Kendrick went four innings Thursday and J.A. Happ went five innings Friday.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Hot, Hot, Hot

ibanez 0409 2010.jpg

A few things from last night’s 8-0 victory over the Astros:

  • Asked what Ted Williams might have said about the top four hitters in the Phillies’ lineup hitting .400 or better four games into the season, Charlie Manuel replied, “I think Ted would say, ‘Hey, wait until we play 162. Let’s see if they can hit .407.’ I think that’s what he would say. He’d probably say, ‘Hey, Bush, I was the last guy to do that.'”
  • The Phillies have 10 or more hits in their first four games for the first time since 1926, when they had 10 or more hits in their first five games.
  • They have 10 or more his in five consecutive games, dating to their final game last season, for the first time since Sept. 13-17, 2005.
  • J.A. Happ threw five scoreless innings. He is 9-2 with a 1.77 ERA on the road.
  • Jimmy Rollins (.467), Placido Polanco (.579), Chase Utley (.438) and Ryan Howard (.400) are hitting a combined .471 (33 for 70) with 10 doubles, one triple, four homers, 21 RBIs, 12 walks and 21 runs scored.
  • Raul Ibanez, who entered the game hitting just .091 (1 for 11), went 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs. He even hit the ball hard during his sixth inning at-bat when he hit into a double play. “He was relaxed,” Manuel said. “He was very relaxed. He was taking some deep breaths and really concentrating on what he was doing. When Raul is not hitting, believe me, he tries hard and he’s his own worst enemy. He wants to (hit) so much. That’s the kind of guy he is. But that’s what drives him, too.”
  • Carlos Lee is impressed: “That lineup, one through nine, it’s guys that can be All-Stars at every position. They probably could have their own All-Star team play against the American League. They’re really good hitters.”
  • Manuel is told that they haven’t faced any Bob Fellers. He replied, “There’s not too many Bob Fellers anymore.” True.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Blanton to DL Three to Six Weeks

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for blanton.jpgMore bad news for the Phillies’ pitching staff.

The Phillies announced this morning that right-hander Joe Blanton has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a mildly strained left oblique muscle.

He is expected to miss anywhere from three to six weeks. The best case scenario is Blanton rejoins the rotation sometime during the Phillies’ nine-game road trip April 20-28 through Atlanta, Arizona and San Francisco. In the meantime, Kyle Kendrick joins the rotation. Expect Andrew Carpenter to take Kendrick’s place in the bullpen.

Blanton, who has never been on the DL in his career until today, strained the muscle while throwing in the bullpen yesterday. He will not throw again until April 8 at the earliest.

“We’ll progress him as tolerated,” team physician Michael Ciccotti said.

J.A. Happ and Clay Condrey suffered similar injuries last season. Happ strained his right intercostal muscle and missed two starts in September. Condrey landed on the DL with a strained left oblique June 19. He got reinstated July 17, but landed back on the DL on July 23 and didn’t return again until Sept. 15.

Ciccotti said Blanton’s injury is milder than Condrey’s.

“His was move severe,” Ciccotti said.

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This is a blow to the rotation, but it’s also a blow to the bullpen. The Phillies already were thin with just Ryan Madson, Danys Baez, Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo. Kendrick could have pitched himself into a pretty solid role with Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero on the DL. But without him they have one less option.

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More about the Phillies’ lack of pitching depth.

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Kendrick will start Wednesday against the Nationals.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Romero Looks Sharp

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for j.c. romero.jpgThere is some concern about the Phillies’ bullpen with Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero opening the season on the disabled list. Lidge pitches in his fifth Minor League Spring Training game tomorrow, which means he might need five just more outings before he is ready to join the Phillies.

Romero pitched in his first game today at the Carpenter Complex. He looked sharp. He retired the four batters he faced, needing just 13 pitches to do it.

“Today was a big step for me,” Romero said. “I was very pleased with the outcome today. The good thing is that I was throwing a lot of strikes. My arm speed was outstanding.”

Rich Dubee said Romero’s arm speed is progressingly more quickly than Lidge’s. He said he is not concerned about Lidge.

“Two different surgeries,” Dubee explained. “Two different individuals. … Power guys, especially closers, they come a little bit slower. A lot of them come with adrenaline also. Billy Wagner was one of the best. He was one of the finest at looking absolutely awful in Spring Training. He didn’t have arm speed and he didn’t have adrenaline. Closers pitch off a lot of adrenaline.”

Romero earlier this spring said he could rejoin the team for its April 12-18 homestand against the Nationals and Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. He said he is more confident following Monday’s outing that he can be back in time for the team’s first homestand.

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Joe Blanton allowed 11 hits, 11 runs, 10 earned runs and three walks in 5 innings in a Minor League intrasquad game. He struck out two. … J.A. Happ allowed three hits, two runs and five walks and struck out four in five innings against the Braves at Bright House Field. Happ did not think he missed the strike zone by much. Dubee agreed. … Ryan Madson threw a 3-0 fastball to Eric Hinske, who hit a game-winning solo homer in the top of the ninth. Madson is 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA this spring. “He was dead today,” Dubee said. “Yeah, just a little dead. Everybody goes through stages this time in Spring Training.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

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