Results tagged ‘ Nelson Figueroa ’

A Crowded DL: Been There, Done That

The injuries are piling up for the Phillies, although Ruben Amaro Jr. said last night Carlos Ruiz won’t be placed on the DL today because of a back problem.

That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just won’t happen today. But the DL already is crowded with Chase Utley, Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, Joe Blanton, J.C. Romero, Domonic Brown and Brian Bocock

The Phillies should be used to this. I pictured players checking their iPads or phones last night and shrugging their shoulders at the latest DL news, if they hadn’t heard already.

“Blanton’s on the DL? Damn. OK.”

The Phillies have travelled this road before:

  • 2007: They used 46 players, including 28 pitchers (some of those players included Chris Roberson, Pete LaForest, Russell Branyan, Yoel Hernandez, Anderson Garcia, Kane Davis, John Ennis, Joe Bisenius, Zack Segovia and Matt Smith).
  • 2008: They used 40 players, including 18 pitchers (Brad Harman, Andy Tracy, Chris Snelling, R.J. Swindle, Les Walrond and Andrew Carpenter).
  • 2009: They used 41 players, including 22 pitchers (Rodrigo Lopez, Paul Hoover, Sergio Escalona and Steven Register).
  • 2010: They used 42 players, including 21 pitchers (Cody Ransom, Dane Sardinha, Brian Bocock, Nate Robertson, Scott Mathieson and Nelson Figueroa).

The Phillies handled the injuries every time. Nobody can say they will handle them this year, but it explains why nobody in the clubhouse is panicked, either.

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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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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!

Hamels Struggles with Command

hamels 0407 2010.jpgSo what to make of Cole Hamels‘ season debut?

Far from perfect, but far from troubling.

He allowed five hits and two earned runs in five innings. He struck out five, but walked four. He threw 103 pitches, just 63 for strikes.

He simply couldn’t throw much of anything for strikes.

Hamels walked four or more batters four times during his rookie season in 2006, including his first two starts in Cincinnati and Milwaukee. He walked four or more batters just three times from 2007-09. So Hamels’ command issues are not typical.

Assuming he improves his command in his next start — the Phillies’ home opener Monday against the Nationals — one would expect improvement.

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Looking forward to seeing what Kyle Kendrick can do this evening.

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Nelson Figueroa is expected to join the team today. He took a redeye from Arizona to DC. 

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Today’s pollen count in DC: CRIPPLING.

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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!

Phillies Claim Figueroa

The Phillies have claimed right-hander Nelson Figueroa off waivers, the team confirmed.

He is expected to join the Phillies, which means they would need to make a roster move upon his arrival. It is unclear when he will join the team, but he likely would be the team’s long man. Andrew Carpenter currently holds that role.

The Mets designated Figueroa for assignment over the weekend.

Figueroa went 3-8 with a 4.09 ERA in 16 games (10 starts) last season for the Mets. He had a 4.61 ERA in Spring Training.

Figueroa went 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA in 19 games (13 starts) for the 2001 Phillies. He originally joined the Phillies in the July 26, 2000, trade that sent Curt Schilling to the Diamondbacks for Travis Lee, Vicente Padilla and Omar Daal.

ESPNNewYork.com first reported the news.

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The Good Phight gave away a copy of my book over the weekend.

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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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