Brett Myers boarded an airplane to South Florida last night, ready to re-join the Phillies today and hoping to pitch by early next week. But a timetable set by the team was more conservative. An MRI in Philadelphia today showed that Myers suffered a grade one strain of his right latissimus dorsi (back) muscle, a team spokesman announced last night. Myers is scheduled to throw a bullpen session next Tuesday, and the Phillies hope—but did not guarantee—that he would return by the end of the regular season. Reached by telephone this afternoon, Myers told the Inquirer that he was optimistic about appearing in a game early next week. “I think I could be ready by the homestand,” which begins Monday, Myers said. “My strength is good.”\ Myers’ injury could have been a side effect of making five relief appearances in seven days after returning from the disabled list. The righthander did not pitch in a major-league game from May 27-Sept 5 because of right hip surgery. Phils reliever Chad Durbin suffered the same injury earlier this season, and said that it affected his mechanics and lowered his arm angle. If Myers is able to return, he will then need to demonstrate—as will all the injured Phils relievers who hope to come back this season—that he can be healthy and effective enough to contribute in the postseason.
Also some changes in the rotation: The Phillies flipped Pedro Martinez and Cliff Lee. Lee will start Friday at Milwaukee, and Martinez is tentatively scheduled for Saturday’s game. J.A. Happ will start on Thursday, good news for a team concerned about the lefthander’s nagging side muscle strain. Martinez left Saturday’s loss to Atlanta after three innings with neck stiffness. He saw a chiropractor after arriving in Miami, and the Phillies hope that the extra day of rest will be sufficient. Martinez played catch yesterday, and also created some confusion by appearing to mention a new injury. “I feel a little bit better,” he said. “I think I had a rib out of place.” General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. seemed unaware of the apparent rib issue, and was hopeful that Martinez would be ready Saturday.