The Phillies entered the ninth inning of Sunday's game at Citi Field against the Mets armed with a three-run lead, but with three of their top relievers unavailable.
Jake Diekman and Mike Adams had thrown 51 combined pitches on Saturday, and had pitched Friday, too. Closer Jonathan Papelbon threw 21 total pitches in those games, but was also unavailable since he said he was dealing with soreness.
Antonio Bastardo blew the three-run lead, the Phillies lost in extra innings and failed to complete a sweep. Papelbon said he has no regrets with the way the day played out.
"It’s just basically a soreness that I wasn’t comfortable with throwing, I felt like it could create more injury," Papelbon said. "Instead of missing 30 or 40 or 50 games, I decided it would be best for my team and my career to maybe sit one out."
The man that signed Papelbon to a record $50 million contract, the largest in baseball history for a relief pitcher, stood by his closer's decision not to pitch.
"He’s just like anybody else, he’s got some mileage and we have to keep an eye out on these guys, make sure they’re good to go," GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "If we risk having him not pitch one game so he can pitch 30 more, that's what we’re going to do."
Papelbon is available to pitch Tuesday and both Amaro and manager Ryne Sandberg said it's not an injury the team needs to monitor. Amaro said it was back related.
Sandberg was asked if he expected to have Papelbon available for three straight games moving forward.
"Yeah, I sure hope so," Sandberg said. "That's his job."