Oswalt's return will force some decisions

Roy Oswalt completed a two-game rehab assignment with triple-A Lehigh Valley Monday. (Michael Kubel/The Morning Call)

DENVER -- Roy Oswalt's expected return to the rotation this weekend in San Francisco is going to force the Phillies to make some decisions.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee, for example, must decide whether to reinsert Oswalt Saturday or Sunday against the Giants.

"I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to do," Dubee said before Tuesday night's game against the Colorado Rockies.

The most likely scenario is that Oswalt, who completed a two-game rehab assignment with triple-A Lehigh Valley Monday night, goes on regular rest Saturday. Dubee indicated that it could benefit Cole Hamels to get an extra day of rest because of how many innings he has logged this season.

Hamels, after pitching six innings during Monday's 4-3, 10-inning win over the Rockies, is currently third in the National League with 158 innings pitched. The Phillies were able to give Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee extra rest before each of their first two starts after the All-Star break, while Hamels only received extra rest one time.

Hamels logged a career-high 227 1/3 regular-season innings in 2008 and is on pace to shatter that personal high this season.

Oswalt's return will also force a roster move and it is highly unlikely a pitcher is going to receive the bad news. Manager Charlie Manuel expressed concern before Tuesday's game about his 11-man bullpen because he had to use Michael Stutes for two innings Monday and he had used Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson three straight days.

The 12-man pitching staff will return with Oswalt because Tuesday night's starter Kyle Kendrick will return to the bullpen.

The odd-man out on the 25-man roster is likely to be opening-day right fielder Ben Francisco, who has an option remaining. Francisco started just four games in July and has not been in the starting lineup at all since July 22. The emergence of John Mayberry Jr. as Manuel's top right-handded bat off the bench has made Francisco expendable.

The one other could be in jeopardy of being demoted is utility infielder Wilson Valdez, whose role has been reduced by the emergence of Michael Martinez as Manuel's most used extra infielder. Martinez has bypassed Valdez because he is a switch hitter.



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