As J.A. Happ packed up his bags at his locker this morning, a steady stream of well-wishers swung by to shake his hand. All of them carried the same essential message: good luck, and hopefully we'll see you sooner rather than later.
Happ has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but there is still a chance the Phillies have not seen the last of him. Charlie Manuel explained that Happ's turn in the rotation likely would not come until July 22nd or 23rd against the Mets. So rather than keep Happ sitting around eating up a roster spot - and perhaps growing stagnant - they decided to send him pack down to continue his normal routine.
Manuel said Brett Myers will likely need one more start after the break in the minor leagues, which would seem to indicate another start for Happ in the big leagues.
"Once we get through and see where Myers is at over the break and we get to see exactly what we want to do with our pitching, we'll iron everything out," Manuel said. "We're very impressed with him and we like everything we saw."
Happ allowed two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings last night against the Cardinals.
To take his roster spot, the Phillies promoted Lehigh Valley infielder Mike Cervenak, who is hitting .310 with seven home runs and 52 RBI at Triple A this season. Cervenak gives the Phillies another right-handed bat off the bench.