J.A. Happ won't have far to fly if, as it looks, he will join the Phillies tomorrow in St. Louis. The 27-year-old lefthander was pulled after three innings from a Triple-A start in Indianapolis, where Lehigh Valley is playing the Pirates' affiliate tonight. If there was some question about Happ's next destination before the start, it was probably erased when Jamie Moyer left his start against the Cardinals after just one inning. The initial report on Moyer is a strained elbow.
Happ would obviously be lined up to pitch on Moyer's next day, which is Sunday at home against the Rockies. He could theoretically start on Saturday on short rest, although general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said earlier today that the Phillies could wind up finding somebody "outside of the organization" to fill the void when righthander Kyle Kendrick was optioned down to Lehigh Valley today.
Whatever the case, Happ looked more than ready to resume his role in the Phillies rotation against Indianapolis (I caught the start on television). He located the ball consistently on both sides of the plate, striking out the first batter he faced on that surprise neck-level fastball that he would spring on hitters during his successful rookie campaign. In three scoreless innings, he allowed three hits, no walks, and struck out three. According to the Indianapolis television broadcast, his velocity routinely touched 92-93. All of that is consistent with the report that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. provided over the weekend in Chicago when asked about his previous start.
Happ was lifted from the game after batting for himself in the top of the fourth inning (the IronPigs only had two available bench players). The assumption, of course, is that the Phillies wanted him out of the game so A) He wouldn't get hurt, B) He could be available to pitch on Saturday. The only other rationale would be if Happ was involved in a trade for a starting pitcher.