Sometimes, the most difficult part of an injury is not the injury itself -- athletes are used to physical pain; they aren't used to being away from their teammates for two months, forced to follow the ebbs and flows from afar. When Clay Condrey first went on the disabled list with an oblique injury in June, he talked about how he felt guilty not being able contribute to the bullpen. Since then, he has appeared in just three games, the last coming in mid-July.
"I haven't slept in eight weeks," Condrey said yesterday.
He'll have at least two more sleepless nights, as the Phillies have decided to send him to Class A Lakewood to pitch in a playoff game tomorrow. Condrey pitched the first inning of the Reading Phillies' 9-3 loss to Akron in the Eastern League playoffs yesterday, allowing two runs on two hits, one of them a two-run home run to Beau Mills.
The Phillies had hoped to activate Condrey prior to today's doubleheader against the Mets, but have decided to get him at least one more outing. Condrey said his oblique reacted well after his outing.
"It felt good," he said. "It reacted pretty good today. I'm sore, but it's a good pitching sore."
He said the Phillies want to give him another chance to refine his control, but, Condrey said, "I don't think it's a problem."
"I'd like to say I'm ready right now," he said.
Assuming he suffers no physical set-back tomorrow, expect him to be activated after Monday's day off.
Ben Francisco is starting in right field in place of Jayson Werth in the first game of today's doubleheader, which features the return of Kyle Kendrick to the mound.
Charlie Manuel doesn't address the media prior to day games, but it is pretty clear he wanted to give Werth the first game off while also keeping his best possible defense on the field. That's likely why the left-handed hittting Matt Stairs isn't in the line-up against righthander John Maine.
Stairs, Werth and Francisco have never faced Maine in their careers. Chase Utley is 7-for-22 with a home run off Maine, while Shane Victorino is 6-for-19 with a home run, Carlos Ruiz is 4-for-11, and Pedro Feliz is 3-for-7 with a home run.
Ryan Howard is 5-for-23 with two home runs off Maine, while Jimmy Rollins is 4-for-25.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Stairs in the line-up tonight against Tim Redding in place of Raul Ibanez. Stairs is 2-for-10 with a home run off of Redding. Utley is 10-for-22 with two home runs, Feliz is 7-for-20 with a home run, while Werth is 3-for-16 with a home run. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard are a combined 9-for-64 lifetime against Redding.