Ruben Amaro Jr. dropped broad hints before Friday night’s game that Roy Oswalt was headed for the disabled list after being scratched from his scheduled start against the Braves. The general manager went so far as to practically come right out and say another pitcher would be brought up from the minors, since Kyle Kendrick, who has been pitching in long relief, can’t be expected to pitch deep into the game.
Moments after a 5-0 loss to the Braves, Amaro made it official. Oswalt will go on the 15-day DL. Righthander Scott Mathieson has been recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley.
It only makes sense. By making the move now, they can backdate it to April 27, the day after he last pitched. If he tried to start Saturday night and his back continued to bother them, he’d have to miss another full 15 days.
Should be an interesting matchup in the middle game of the series. Kendrick will be making his first start since Oct. 1, 2010, when he beat the Braves at Turner Field.
And Atlanta will counter with 20-year-old phenom Julio Teheran, making his major league debut.
Since the Braves played a doubleheader Wednesday, their other option was to start either Tim Hudson or Tommy Hanson on short rest.
There’s no way of telling how Teheran will pitch, of course. Many big-league teams struggle against pitchers they’ve never seen before, but young pitchers also can be nervous and lose command.
But Teheran is supposed to be something special. He’s rated as the Braves No. 1 prospect and the fifth-best overall by <CF5002>Baseball America.</CF>
Strikeouts can be fun, but they can also be overrated as we were reminded tonight. Cliff Lee whiffed 16 Braves hitters in only seven innings, but gave up three runs and took the loss.
“Honestly, I’m not too worried about strikeouts. It’s just another way to get the hitter out,” he said. “Whatever. Obviously it’s a neat accomplishment or whatever. But it doesn’t matter because we still lost the game. Whether they get out by strikeout, groundout, flyout, it doesn’t really matter as long as they get out.”
Sixteen strikeouts were a career high for Lee. It was the most by a Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling had 16 against the Yankees in 1997. The club record for a nine-inning game is 17 by Art Mahaffey against the Cubs on April 23, 1961.
The Phillies have had trouble scoring runs this season, so seeing Placido Polanco have to leave the game after fouling a pitch off his big toe in the seventh wasn’t a good sign. There was no immediate indication of how serious the injury might be, although X-rays were negative.
Polanco, the team’s most consistent hitter this season, has reached base in 23 straight games.
UPDATED: Roy Oswalt was placed on the disabled list with lower back inflammation after the Phillies' 5-0 loss to the Braves. The move is retroactive to April 27, meaning Oswalt could miss only one start.
Scott Mathieson was recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley. He is 0-0 with a 4.98 ERA in eight relief appearances. He has allowed 14 hits in 12.2 innings with nine walks and 15 strikeouts.
After experiencing some back discomfort during his start against the Marlins on April 15 at Citizens Bank Park, Roy Oswalt said he didn’t think there was anything to worry about.
He’s changed his mind.
Oswalt was scratched from his scheduled start against the Braves Saturday night. After leaving the team for more than a week to attend to tornado damage around his family homes in Mississippi, he threw in the bullpen Thursday, and his back was still bothering him.
He likely will go on the disabled list Saturday.
Kyle Kendrick will start in his place.
Oswalt conceded that his back had bothered him in subsequent starts in San Diego and Arizona.
“A little bit,” he said when asked whether he is now concerned. “The start in San Diego, I didn’t tell anybody. Kind of got through it. Thought I’d be fine for Arizona, too. But it kind of got to the point where’s it’s unbearable. So a little bit of concern. It’s early in the year, and I don’t want to have it linger to July, August. So maybe a few more days will help out some.”
A pitcher most likely will be recalled from the minors when Oswalt is officially put on the DL. If it’s done Friday, the move can be backdated to April 26.
Kendrick said he thinks he can pitch at least five innings Saturday night. But he said he doesn’t look at this as any kind of audition for a future return to the rotation.
“Five should be no problem,” he said. “I can [start]. How long have I been starting for? Not at all. I’m just going out there and starting a game. It’s my first one of the year. I know I can do it, and I think they know. I’m excited to start. It’s been a while. I’ve done it before. It’s nothing new.”
Vance Worley, who has pitched extremely well in two starts since being brought up from Triple A Lehigh Valley will be available out of the bullpen.
In other injury news, second baseman Chase Utley is expected to play in an extended spring game Saturday in Florida.
“We’re going to try to progress him,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “It’s good to know he’s actually going to be on the field, playing second base, swinging a bat. It’s all good stuff. We’ve told him to do what he feels comfortable with. And as long as he’s comfortable, we’ll just let it play out.”
Righthander Joe Blanton, who has been on the DL with an impingement in his right elbow, is expected to be ready to start Monday in Florida. That’s why Worley can pitch out of the bullpen behind Kendrick.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz could also be headed for the disabled list. A decision could be made as soon as Saturday.
The Braves have called up highly regarded prospect Julio Teheran from Triple A to make his major league debut tomorrow against Kendrick. Teheran has allowed six earned runs total in his last five starts.
Also, the Braves have pushed Jair Jurrjens to Sunday. He will oppose Cole Hamels.
Chase Utley will play an extended spring game tomorrow in Florida.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies are still considering putting catcher Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list.
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