The healthy pitcher count is down to 11

First, kudos to Mr. Paul Hagen, my esteemed colleague and personal hero who took care of the daily duties today so that I could finish up some season preview stories.

That said, here's what's shaking:

Lefty reliever Travis Blackley cleaned out his locker today, but nobody could figure out why. The Phillies weren't saying anything, so rumor and innuendo was left to fill the minds of those who saw the empty stall. Turns out, the deal isn't all that scandalous: he's a rule 5 selection, which means the team can't simply send him to the minors. First, they must put him on waivers. If he clears waivers, then the Giants have a chance to claim him, because they were his original team.

But here's the complicated part:

Blackley has the choice of whether he wants to go to the minors or become a free agent. If he chooses to become a free agent, that's it: he's a free agent. If he chooses to accept his assignment to the minors, the Giants then have the choice to take him back (they'd have to pay the phillies $25,000 to do so). If the Giants don't take him back, he'd then go into the Phillies minor league system.

We'll likely find out more tomorrow.

Blackley was in competition for both the fifth spot in the rotation and a spot in the bullpen.