Results tagged ‘ J.C. Romero ’

Day 1 in Indy

A few more things from the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis:

  • Ruben Amaro Jr. said there is a chance Brad Lige and J.C. Romero will not be ready by Opening Day — they are recovering from elbow surgeries — although he said if they are not ready, it won’t be long after the season starts.
  • Amaro said he is more likely to fill holes on the pitching staff and bench via free agency, although he said the Phillies could get creative and work a trade.
  • Amaro declined comment on a rumor that the Phillies have made right-hander Joe Blanton available to trade to free up money to improve the bullpen, but it seems unlikely Amaro would trade pitching to get pitching. “I’m sure I would at some point,” he said. “It’s kind of like robbing Peter to trade Paul, but if you think Paul is better than Peter than it’s worth it.”
  • Amaro also said he doesn’t “want to mess with our rotation as it stands. But it doesn’t mean we have to make that a hard and fast rule,” he said. “I think it’s more about keeping the options as open as possible. … I’ll put our rotation as it stands up there with pretty much anybody in the National League. The better your rotation is the more heat you can take off the bullpen. I think that’s probably the best way to get a more predictable bullpen.”
  • It sounds to me like Chan Ho Park is the team’s top priority in the bullpen. Amaro met with Park’s agent Jeff Borris on Monday.
  • The Phillies have continued interest in left-hander Scott Eyre, although Amaro said he would be comfortable with rookie left-handers Antonio Bastardo or Sergio Escalona in the bullpen next season.
  • The Phillies have been linked to right-hander Brandon Lyon, but one source said Monday the asking price for Lyon remains high.
  • The Phillies already have committed $114.2 million committed to 15 players in 2010. Include the expected raises for Blanton, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey and the payroll pushes to more than $130 million. That leaves the Phillies with just a few million to spend. “I think we’re going to be just fine with our payroll,” Amaro said. “I don’t think it’s going to change much. We have our limitations. We’re going to be pushing $140 million. It is what it is. It’s my job to figure out a way to make sure this a contending team.”
  • The Phillies have until Dec. 12 to offer contracts to Durbin and Condrey, who are eligible for salary arbitration. Amaro said the Phillies haven’t made a final decision, but “as far as I’m concerned, at least right now, these are guys that we’ll probably count on. But again, a lot of it kind of depends on what happens over these next several days in regards to the other free agents that might be out there.”
  • The Phillies have expressed interest in Brian Giles, although it doesn’t appear talks are serious. “We’ve talked about it a little bit,” said Giles’ agent, Joe Bick. “Philly needs to try to find Brian a spot where there might be more playing time, but it’s certainly something we’ll keep the door open on.”


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Blanton to Start Game 4

blanton.jpgIt’s official: Joe Blanton will start Game 4 of the NLCS.

“I’m ready to do my job, whatever they ask me to do,” he said today. “If they ask me, I’m ready. I’ll do whatever.”

Blanton is 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA in four career regular starts against the Dodgers. He allowed one run and five hits in six innings in a no-decision against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 6. He allowed three runs in five innings last year in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Dodgers.

“I liked the fact we could keep J.A. (Happ) in the bullpen, especially on some left handed hitters, but at the same time Joe has pitched pretty good against the Dodgers,” Charlie Manuel said. “And yesterday I think Pedro Martinez showed if you can change speeds and things like that and mix in your fastball and locate good, that you can have success against them.  And I think Blanton, not only is he a very aggressive pitcher, but he’s that type of pitcher. I think that he’s a good fit.”


J.C. Romero said he had successful surgery on his left elbow, and expects be ready by the beginning of spring training. Romero said the tear in an elbow ligament was bigger than anticipated, but he felt fortunate to have the surgery when he did before it got worse.

“My doctor said he couldn’t explain how I was throwing a week before my surgery,” Romero said.


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Romero To Miss Rest of Season

J.C. Romero dropped his head as he walked to his locker this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

“I’m done,” he said. “I’m done.”

Romero said he will not pitch again this season – barring a miracle – because tendinitis in his left elbow still lingers. He pitched Monday against the Houston Astros, but his arm has been slow to recover. Right-hander Chan Ho Park also said today he is unlikely to pitch in the National League Division Series because he aggravated his right hamstring while pitching in the Instructional League on Thursday in Clearwater, Fla.

“I’ve got to play it smart, bro,” Romero said. “The arm is not recovering the way it should. When they say tendinitis that means rest. The most I’ve rested the whole time is 10 days. I’ve probably got to rest a whole month or so. That’s going to hurt, but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. … If some miracle happens before the World Series and I feel extremely good, it could be a possibility. But first round? Definitely, no. Second round? The only way I would consider that is if after the second opinion they say nothing is wrong, that it’s just soreness from the weather. If the say you’ve got to rest or you’re going to create something worse I’ll shut it down.”

“All things point to him not being able to participate,” Philllies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Park was instructed to notify the team’s athletic trainers if he felt anything in the hamstring while he pitched Thursday.

“Not good,” Park said.

“Right now it’s day-to-day,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We’ll see how it goes. I can’t say whether I’m optimistic or pessimistic because you never know how he’ll heal over the next couple days. But I do know it’s unfortunate because he was throwing the ball real well. We’d love to have him.”


Big League Stew talked to Pedro Martinez.


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Is Romero Lost for the Season?

Thumbnail image for j.c. romero.jpgCharlie Manuel
and Rich Dubee had hoped to have a handful of relief pitchers to choose from next week when they selected their postseason roster.

Those pitchers are dropping like flies.

We learned Wednesday that Jamie Moyer is lost for the season because of torn tendons in his left groin. Chan Ho Park suffered a setback yesterday when he left an Instructional League game in Clearwater when he felt something in his right hamstring. No word on how serious it is, but Park flew to Philly last night to be examined today. That does not sound good. The Phillies then announced J.C. Romero still has symptoms in his left forearm and is going to seek a second opinion from orthopedist David Altchek sometime this week in New York.

“I haven’t been counting on him (to pitch in the playoffs),” Manuel said of Romero. “I’ve told you guys before, if you’re not healthy or you’re not well … I’ve got to go with the guys I know who are ready to go and ready to pitch.”

If those three are out for the NLDS — and I have to think they are at this point — that leaves the Phillies with a group that includes Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Sergio Escalona, Scott Eyre, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Brett MyersTyler Walker and either J.A. Happ or Pedro Martinez.

That is 10 pitchers for eight spots, and three of those pitchers — Eyre, Myers and Condrey — are returning from their own injuries. Romero’s troubles could seal Happ’s fate to the bullpen because the Phillies need a healthy lefty in the bullpen. That would leave seven spots for nine pitchers. Could Escalona be one of them? He threw a scoreless inning last night, but is a rookie with just 11 big-league innings under his belt.

“If it comes down to that I’ll trust him,” Manuel said. “You’ve got to go with what you’ve got. That’s basically what I’ve been doing for five years.”


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Taking Chorizo and Injury Updates

chorizo 1.jpgI’m abandoning the Polish in tonight’s sausage race for the Chorizo.

I’m pretty confident in my pick. I heard Phillies broadcaster Scott Franzke is 2-for-2 this weekend in picking the sausage race winner at Miller Park. Frankly, I’m embarrassed to be 0-for-2.

Tonight I make my comeback.


We’ve got injury updates for y’all:

  • Rich Dubee said Pedro Martinez (stiff neck) “will pitch when Pedro is healthy.” It is expected to be sometime next week. 
  • Left-hander J.C. Romero threw an inning in the Instructional League in Clearwater, Fla. He felt fine. If he feels OK tomorrow, Ruben Amaro Jr. said Romero could be activated Monday.
  • Brett Myers threw off the mound today, but just as a short test. He said he felt fine. Amaro said Myers could throw a full bullpen session Monday, a day earlier than had been scheduled.
  • Chan Ho Park threw about 30 pitches in Clearwater. He could throw a bullpen Monday.


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If Lidge Is Out, Who's In?

Thumbnail image for lidge knee.jpgCharlie Manuel
said yesterday he is prepared and willing to do whatever it takes to win games. Reading between the lines he meant Brad Lidge no longer is the team’s only option to close.

Ruben Amaro Jr. echoed those sentiments today.

Their words proved true a couple hours later when Lidge trotted to the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning with the Brewers beating the Phillies, 7-2.

“Our best club is to have Lidge pitch the ninth,” Amaro said. “Right now, he hasn’t been doing it effectively, and we’ll have to make an adjustment off that. … No decision has been made officially. Charlie is going to bring people in to pitch in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning that he feels will be most effective. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Lidge isn’t one of those guys. He still could be one of those guys. It could be (Ryan) Madson. It could be Lidge. It could be a host of guys. Obviously it will be different if we get some of the other guys back.”

Amaro said if J.C. Romero throws well tomorrow in Clearwater that he could be activated early next week. He said Chan Ho Park is throwing off the mound tomorrow. Park is “progressing pretty well.” Brett Myers could be back late next week.

“Hopefully we’ll have some choices for Charlie,” Amaro said.

Pedro Martinez does not appear to be one of those choices.

“Right now I don’t see that happening,” Amaro said. “Could it change? Maybe. Right now I think we view him as a starter for us. He’s been effective in that role.”

But while Martinez likely is not an option — Martinez takes a while to get loose, which would not be ideal for a late-inning reliever who needs to warm up quickly — J.A. Happ could be.

“I think he’s durable and right now he’s healthy,” Amaro said. “He’s got a durable arm. We had him in the bullpen last year so it won’t be anything new to him. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he is a guy we use in the bullpen. That would be up to Charlie and (pitching coach Rich) Dubee if they think he can do it. He hasn’t done anything to say he can’t. You don’t know until he gets in that situation.

“As I said before, it may take some guys to step up and pitch in different roles they’re not typically accustomed to. And Brad may be asked to do something different than he’s been doing for us. Again, at the end of the day it’s about how we can get the last six or nine outs. … We’d rather have the seventh, eighth and ninth locked up like we have in the past, but this isn’t a perfect world unfortunately.”

Asked about his confidence in Lidge, Amaro said, “I’m confident that he’s had the experience of doing it. He has not performed the way I think he knows he can perform and the way we know he can perform. He’ll show us how confident we are in him.”


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Could Happ Help the Pen?

Thumbnail image for happ 0805.jpgJ.A. Happ
has been so good this season that he could win National League Rookie of the Year.

But as good as he has been in the rotation, he could be in the bullpen in the postseason. In fact, he could be pitching in some big spots in some big games.

“Happ really has improved as the season has gone on,” Charlie Manuel said after the game. “I like Happ as a starter. I always have. But at the same time, I also see the way our pitching looks. There would be a chance that he could wind up in the back end of our bullpen if we don’t get some things straightened out and (J.C.) Romero doesn’t come back or something. I’m not going to say we’re going to do that, but we’re going to talk about it if we don’t have any lefties.”

Asked if he could see Happ as a ninth-inning guy, Manuel said, “Yeah, probably. You know one of the big things about Happ is? He’s not afraid to throw his secondary pitches. He’s really improved a whole lot. He’s still got a little ways to go yet, but he has really improved as the season goes along.”

And those improvements translate into him being able to shut down a team for an inning?

“Yeah, I think he could do that,” Manuel said. “And I think his experience that he has in the last couple years can allow him to do that, too. He throws strikes, and he definitely is not scared. I’ll talk about that. I don’t know exactly how we set up yet. If we get J.C. Romero back or something … I like Happ as a starter. I always have. He’s got a big future.”

So Happ, who has gone from bullpen to rotation to hot topic of conversation in Roy Halladay trade rumors, could be headed back to the bullpen if the bullpen doesn’t get healthy fast.

“I’m not looking that far ahead,” Happ said. “I have two starts left and I feel I can help us that way. But I want to help us, period. Whatever way that is, that’s what it is.”


Ryan Howard‘s two RBIs pulled him into a first-place tie with Prince Fielder for the Major League-lead with 132.


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Myers Has Sore Shoulder

The Phillies certainly could have used Brett Myers this weekend at Turner Field.

But Myers never pitched, despite the fact the bullpen pitched 16 innings in the three-game series. In fact, Myers has not pitched since Sept. 12 against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Myers said Friday he had not thrown because Phillies starters had been going deep into games. But that no longer held true after J.A. Happ pitched three innings Friday, Pedro Martinez pitched three innings last night and Cliff Lee pitched four innings this afternoon.

Phillies general manger Ruben Amaro Jr. said following today’s 4-2 victory over the Braves that Myers has had soreness in the back of his right shoulder for more than a week. Myers will fly to Philadelphia on Tuesday to see team physician Michael Ciccotti to “see if there’s anything very serious about it.”

Myers, reached by telephone, said, “I don’t think it’s real serious. I have some stiffness and tightness and they want me to go get it checked out.”

The Phillies have just 14 games to play before the postseason, and with left-handers Scott Eyre (loose body in his left elbow), J.C. Romero (strained left forearm) and Jack Taschner (strained back) and right-hander Chan Ho Park (strained right hamstring) sidelined with injuries, this comes at a bad time. But Myers, who missed more than two months in 2007 with a strained right shoulder, sounded optimistic he would be pitching before the end of the regular season. He said he has thrown each of the previous four days and has felt better each time.

“I should be back,” he said.


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Hitting Homers, Dropping Like Flies

OK, let’s run through a few things from last night’s 9-4 victory over the Braves:

  • Ryan Howard went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs. He has six multi-homer games this season, and three of the last five have come against the Braves. After Howard hit .233 (10-for-43) with five doubles, one home run and four RBIs in his first 11 games against the Braves this season, he has hit .647 (11-for-17) with one double, six home runs and 10 RBIs in his last five.
  • The Phillies’ magic number is eight.
  • Kyle Kendrick allowed three hits in four scoreless innings. Kendrick has looked good in his last five appearances (one start). He is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Opponents have hit .231 against him. Five appearances is a small sample size, but if he continues to pitch well, he just might plant a seed in the minds of the Phillies front office as they figure out how to set up their 2010 roster.
  • J.A. Happ said he is fine. He said he never tweaked his right intercostal (rib cage) muscle, which caused him to miss his previous two starts. No tweaks. No pain. No nothing. But Charlie Manuel wasn’t so sure because he said he didn’t see much life on Happ’s ball, particularly in an at-bat against Tim Hudson in the second. That was why Manuel pulled him after the third inning, when he thought Happ tweaked it when he turned to first base on a ground ball to Howard. “He said, ‘I’m telling you, I’m all right,'” Manuel said. “I think he might not have had much pain, but I think he felt something. I’m not sure, so I took him out of the game. We’re short on lefties right now anyway.” The Phillies currently are without left-handers J.C. Romero and Scott Eyre. I think it is safe to say Happ is a good possibility to pitch in the bullpen in the postseason should Romero and Eyre be unavailable.
  • Carlos Ruiz left the game in the sixth inning with a sprained left wrist. He injured it during a play at the plate in the second inning. He said he felt the wrist while he caught, but he mostly felt it when he hit. X-rays were negative, but the feeling from Manuel and Ruiz is that this is not an injury that should force Ruiz to miss an extended period of time. That would be a relief for the Phillies. “It’s a little sore,” Ruiz said. “I’ll see tomorrow how it feels, if I’m OK. If not tomorrow, maybe Sunday.”
  • Howard got hit with a pitch on the right forearm in the eighth inning. It hit him in the exact spot where he got hit with a pitch Thursday against the Nationals. “He ain’t dead by a long shot,” Manuel said. “If I had arms that big a baseball wouldn’t hurt me.” Of course, when you’re hit with a 95 mph fastball, you still feel it. “It’s a little extra sore today. A little extra stiff,” Howard said. “Hopefully in a couple days it will be all right. I’m going to be stiff and sore tomorrow. We’ll wait tomorrow and see how it feels.”


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Looking October Worthy

lee 0915.jpg“They have a lot pros over there. Lee and Pedro Martinez and Cole Hamels go deep in ballgames. That’s a good formula for winning.” — Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman.

The past few nights at Citizens Bank Park have been impressive, and perhaps a glimpse into the future.

Cliff Lee shutout the Nationals tonight at Citizens Bank Park, 5-0, two nights after Pedro Martinez threw 130 pitches in eight shutout innings Sunday in a 1-0 victory over the Mets. Two nights before that, Cole Hamels allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA in his previous four starts.

“Our one to five is as good as anybody’s,” Lee said of a rotation that also includes Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ. “I don’t think you necessarily have to have a 1-2 punch. I think we’ve got a 1-2-3-4-5 punch. That’s never ending.”

It is too early to say what the postseason rotation will look like, but I think the health of left-handers Scott Eyre and J.C. Romero could play a part in it. If they are not healthy, the Phillies could move Happ into the bullpen to give them a left-hander. If that happens, Martinez obviously makes the rotation.

(And, yes, I know the Mets and Nationals aren’t the Dodgers, Rockies or Cardinals, but the Philllies starters are doing what they should do against these offenses. Shut them down.)


The last time the Phillies had shutouts in consecutive games was April 2728, 2003, when Kevin Millwood threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory against the Giants at Veterans Stadium and Brett Myers, Dan Plesac and Jose Mesa combined for a 3-0 victory against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

I remember Millwood’s no-hitter well. I had started the Phillies beat a couple weeks earlier for The Philadelphia Inquirer, but because the Phillies opened a series the next night in Los Angeles, I flew to California that afternoon. In other words, the very first game I missed as a Phillies beat writer Kevin Freakin’ Millwood throws a no-hitter. I remember getting into my rental car at LAX, turning on the radio and hearing Vin Scully say, “And Kevin Millwood has a no-hitter through eight innings!” I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I still can’t believe it.


The last time the Phillies had consecutive shutouts in Philadelphia was Aug. 1516, 2002, against the Brewers and Cardinals. Joe Roa, Mike Timlin and Carlos Silva combined for the shutout against the Brewers, and Randy Wolf shutout the Cardinals.


Carlos Ruiz is hitting .429 (18-for-42) with one homer and nine RBIs in his past 17 games.


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