Brett Myers is scheduled to make a big step in his rehabilitation tomorrow when he takes the mound for Class A Clearwater, the first time he'll be in a competitive situation since May 27, when he allowed five runs on seven hits before leaving with two outs in the top of the sixth inning of a 6-2 loss to the Marlins.
Myers underwent hip surgery on June 5 in New York City, where Dr. Bryan Kelly repaired a torn labrum and removed bone spurs from his right hip. The Phillies believe the injury contributed to the puzzling drop in velocity that Myers experienced over the previous year.
On Saturday, he is scheduled to throw an inning for Class A Clearwater. The outing is an indication that Myers is progressing faster than the Phillies had hoped -- they originally had him slated for a rehab appearance on Monday. Myers has said he is confident that he will be ready to re-join the Phillies as a reliever in September.
He was 14-16 with a 4.58 ERA as a starter in 2008 and 2009. In 2007, he saved 21 games and posted a 2.87 ERA while holding opponents to a .229 average after moving into the bullpen in April.
"If he can throw out of the bullpen like he did a few years ago, yeah he can help us," manager Charlie Manuel said.
Manuel said he is confident that Myers will be back in September, after rosters expand. Because Myers is on the disabled list, he does not have to be on the roster on Sept. 1 to be eligible for the postseason. Member of the organziation who have followed Myers' rehab said the righthander has impressed them with his work ethic. Despite the fact that he is a free agent after the season, they say Myers has trained his focus solely on helping the Phillies' postseason run as a reliever.
"He's been working his ass off," one club official said.
For now, though, the Phillies are approaching Myers' rehab with caution. Although they will stretch him out with the intent of using him as a reliever, the goal right now is simply to build up strength in his arm and his lower body. Myers threw a two-inning simulated game earlier this week.
"I think we know what he can do when he is healthy and well," Manuel said, "but at the same time, we have to wait and see how he's throwing. . .I'm sure when he gets ready and we make sure he is ready, we're going to bring him up here and use him. How? I don't know. But we'll use him."
Chase Utley, who along with wife Jennifer are active members of the SPCA, declined to comment on the Eagles' signing of Michael Vick, who spent nearly two years in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting operation. Jen Utley told Fox 29 today that she thought the Eagles should have contacted the SPCA before agreeing to a contract with Vick. Chase Utley, though, said he did not want to comment on the matter.
"I have no problem commenting on stuff that I am involved in," Utley said.