Manuel weighs in on need for reliever, need for bat

Charlie Manuel would like to see the Phillies to acquire a quality reliever and bat. (Gene J. Puskar/AP file photo)

 With 13 days remaining until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and his front office are scouring the majors for two primary needs: a big-armed reliever who can provide depth to the back of an injury-ravaged bullpen, and a right-handed bat who would provide some consistent pop in the middle of the order.

Monday afternoon, manager Charlie Manuel was asked which need is more pressing.

"I think we can definitely use a reliever, I think without a doubt. But also I think we could use a good bat," Manuel said. "And when I say a reliever or a bat, I'm talking about a good one. If we can find a good bat and we don't get a good reliever, well then we'll take the good bat, if that makes sense. I want somebody good. If we are going to get somebody, I'll tell you guys like I would tell them, I want somebody good. Somebody that is going to help us. I don't want what we've already got."

Recent reports that the Mets would be willing to eat a majority of the salary remaining on outfielder Carlos Beltran's contract mean the Phillies will at least have the financial ability to swing a deal for the veteran switch-hitter. The only other potential every day players who are likely to be available, at least as far as right-handed hitting outfielders go, are the Padres' Ryan Ludwick and the Athletics' Josh Willingham. Ludwick, Willingham and Beltran will all be free agents at the end of the season. Oakland and San Diego both have relievers who could also help the Phillies, including the Padres' Mike Adams, a 33-year-old with electric stuff who does not become a free agent until after next season.

Minnesota is not believed to be interested in trading Michael Cuddyer. Players like the Astros' Jeff Keppinger and the Cubs' Reed Johnson do not represent the significant upgrade that Manuel is seeking, but both are hitters who could provide depth and right-handed consistency in the right rotation.

The Astros would likely have to be overwhelmed to consider moving outfielder Hunter Pence. The Rays' B.J. Upton is another unlikely-but-not-impossible trade candidate.


Shane Victorino is in Chicago with the Phillies after playing in a rehab game for Double-A Reading on Sunday. He said he is ready to play, but Manuel said he will hold off on any decisions until after doctors examine Victorino today.

Victorino said he still feels a little bit of soreness in his thumb when he gets jammed, but that it is something he is just going to have to play through. He did not sound too concerned about the soreness.

Today's line-ups:

  1. Jimmy Rollins SS
  2. Michael Martinez 3B
  3. Chase Utley 2B
  4. Ryan Howard 1B
  5. Raul Ibanez LF
  6. Carlos Ruiz C
  7. Domonic Brown RF
  8. John Mayberry Jr. CF
  9. Roy Halladay RHP

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