Lidge, Durbin Debuts, plus a look at the bullpen

The rotation for Wednesday's game against the Braves has been set, and it is notable because both Brad Lidge and Chad Durbin are scheduled to make their first appearances of the spring, although they will do so in a B Game. Durbin has been battling a hamstring strain, while Lidge is simply taking it easy to get over some lingering offseason tightness.

Today, Cole Hamels faces the Braves. Andrew Carpenter, Antonio Bastardo and Sergio Escalona are also among the pitchers scheduled to appear.

Here is the Phillies line-up:

  1. Eric Bruntlett SS
  2. Greg Dobbs LF
  3. Jayson Werth CF
  4. Ryan Howard 1B
  5. Raul Ibanez DH
  6. Geoff Jenkins RF
  7. Jason Donald 3B
  8. Miguel Cairo 2B
  9. Lou Marson C


Today looks like the day when the Phillies start to option players to their minor league camps. Coaches and front office staff have met with several players earlier today, all of whom were seen packing up. I'll let you know when there are official announcements. This is a normal part of spring, so the names shouldn't surprise you.


Here's a list of questions I would like to see people ask Paul Hagen in today's chat at 11 a.m.:

  1. Did John Kruk ever actually read the book you two co-wrote together?
  2. If you had to eat one item off the Frenchy's menu for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  3. If you had to give up either Bud Light or water for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
  4. How many times a day do you want to punch your Phillies beat writer in the face?


A rather uneventful day yesterday in Lake Buena Vista. Jason Donald went 2-for-3 and reached base three times, while Marcus Giles went 2-for-4 and stole a base. The headline of the game centered, however, centered around Carlos Carrasco, who struggled in his second straight outing. That shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, he will be 22 on Opening Day, and despite the public proclamations from the Phillies, is something of a long shot for the fifth starter's role. To put things in perspective, on the mound yesterday for the Braves was a 22-year-old named Tommy Hanson who is rated the No. 4 prospect by Baseball America (Carrasco is No. 52). Hanson himself is a long shot to crack the Braves rotation. In fact, the conventional wisdom is that Hanson will start the year at Triple-A Richmond. So this is all part of a learning process for Carrasco. That said, Carrasco's struggles in his third spring appearance brought up a pertinent question, one that we addressed today in the pages of the fishwrapper.

What happens to the other three pitchers who do not win the spot?

Barring some unforseen change in strategy, the Phillies won't look at Carrasco as a bullpen piece. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said it wouldn't be an ideal situation, and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the same. So if Carrasco is not in the rotation on Opening Day, he'll likely be in Lehigh Valley. Chan Ho Park, meanwhile, will be in the bullpen if he loses. But there are a variety of possibilities surrounding J.A. Happ and Kyle Kendrick. I'd have to assume if Kendrick loses the spot, he'd head down to the minors to work on developing his secondary pitches. Although it would probably sting for a guy who has spent the last year-and-a-half in the big leagues, the Phillies would do their best to convince Kendrick it is the best thing for him in the long run. Happ could very well stick with the club in a role he held in the postseason last year if he loses out on the starting spot, heading to the bullpen as a second lefty/multiple innings guy. But the Phillies could have other options to fill the final spot as well. Veteran righthander Gary Majewski has pitched well thus far this spring, and there are a number of other veteran relievers in camp.


We'll have more later this morning after the clubhouse closes.