Today's media session with Charlie Manuel was interesting, to say the least. The Phillies brought J.A. Happ up from Lehigh Valley, and I think most people assumed it was to be the left-handed reliever the team has needed for quite some time. But Manuel made it clear he looks at Happ as a starter, even if it means he has to start in the bullpen before he gets his chance.
I asked Manuel whether there was a chance Happ starts at some point this season. . .
Here's the paraphrased back and forth between reporters:
Q: Was Happ brought up to be a reliever?
A: I look at Happ as a starter. We haven't really talked about it yet. We figured we needd a picture and he was definitely the best one down ther eand he pitched good up here and we haven't decided exactly where he's going yet, but I'd say for a short period of time he'll go in the bullpen and if he pitches out of the bullpen, that's not bad because that's how most guys break in to the major leagues, or used to, not anymore, they don't as much. I'd say even six, seven, eight 10 years ago, that's what they used to do. Bring young pitchers to the big leagues and ptich them a few times or find places to put them in and then if they were good and did a good job they either got into the starting rotation or they pusehd them back farther int he bullpen or they became set up or closer or a guy you could use in the back end. I"m not saying we are goin to do that yet.
Q: Is there a chance he can start this season?
A: Without a doubt there's a chance, yes. We liked what Happ showed us.
Q: So he was not brought up to be a lefty reliever?
A: No. (When) we brought him up, one of the reasons is we figured he's the best guy we had in Lehigh Valley and also he pitched two good ballgames up here and we liked the way he pitched. And that means that he might be better than someone we have. We just want to see him pitch more.