The organizational machine was in high gear this afternoon. J.A. Happ threw a bullpen session that was monitored by pitching coach Rich Dubee and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan. After Dubee cut the bullpen off, realizing that Happ was not 100 percent, he and Sheridan spoke at length with Happ about his immediate future. Sheridan and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. met with Charlie Manuel in his office as the logistics of the roster moves were hammered out.
Lefty reliever J.C. Romero was activated from the disabled list. Righthander Nelson Figueroa was informed he would start Saturday. There was some thought that Andrew Carpenter would be called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but with Romero ready to return, the Phillies opted to start Figueroa rather than adding somebody else to active roster.
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Now that we've had some time to digest it all, here are some questions you probably have:
1) When will Happ return?
Amaro said at this point he thinks it will be a matter of weeks and not months. Happ said his injury has progressed over the last week. The pain he feels when releasing the ball isn't as sharp as it was when he walked six batters against the Astros last Friday. But every one realizes that this is the type of injury that can get worse. At this point, the Phillies say the problem is just inflammation in the muscle. But that can lead to stress on the tendon, and then stress on the ligament. That's what the team wants to avoid.
2) How much of a long-term concern is there?
Nobody sounds ultra-concerned that this is the beginning of a serious elbow problem. But they also sound realistic.
"You can't be hesitant at all when you are out there throwing," Happ said. "If you are the least bit, it changes things. I'm satisified with where we're at, with what I'm feeling and what they're saying and their questions and my answers to their questions are signifying more of muscle and tendon rather than ligament at this point, which is good. But if I keep stressing it when it's already stressed, then the ligament will get stressed too. It just needs to get better and keep going so that everything stays strong."
3) Is J.C. Romero ready to contribute?
The Phillies say he is. Romero says he is. He is available to pitch tonight, and if the Phillies find themselves needing to retire Brian McCann in a big spot, I wouldn't be surprised to see Romero out there.
Will he be limited at all in his workload.
"We'll wait and see and watch," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.
4) What is Domonic Brown's status?
Brown, the organization's top prospect, suffered a slight concussion last week in the field. Amaro said he should be ready to return to Reading's line-up on Friday.
5) Will Joe Blanton be ready by next weekend?
He could be. Dubee wouldn't rule it out. He'll pitch on Friday. Then, presumably, he'll pitch again. If his third and final rehab start is five days after Friday, he'd be ready to return by Monday, May 3rd. But he is only scheduled to throw around 50 pitches Friday, so he could conceivably get back on the mound sooner.