Why Worley is an IronPig

Vance Worley allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings against the Marlins. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The fireworks finale was coming and Vance Worley stood in a tunnel outside the visitors clubhouse at Sun Life Stadium answering questions about his latest gem, a 1-0 Phillies win.

The Phillies had already planned to start Cole Hamels on the final day of the first half, which would have been Worley's turn, meaning the 23-year-old rookie could go nearly two weeks between starts.

He was asked if he knew what plans the Phillies had for him.

"I have no idea," Worley said. "You guys will know before I do."

Inside the clubhouse, the Phillies decision-makers had already plotted Worley's fate. He entered the room, was told he had been optioned, and that was that.

In a lot of ways, it makes plenty of sense. Worley was damaged when the team moved him from the rotation to the bullpen in May. He went 13 days between starts when the team optioned him to triple A for one start to stretch out. In the two starts immediately after, he allowed 11 runs (eight earned) in eight innings.

After making three more minor-league starts, Worley returned to the majors with purpose. He allowed two runs in 25 innings over four starts.

"He could have been very disappointed and hung his head," catcher Brian Schneider said. "But he knew when he was sent down he was going to get his stuff back to where it was. It's not easy going from starting to the bullpen. You don't see any kind of attitude from him. When he's out there pitching you don't know if he's given up two hits or 10 hits. He's the same guy. He's really matured a lot."

And with one of the three remaining aces -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels -- starting four of the five games before the break, there was no sense in keeping Worley around. He will start Saturday for Lehigh Valley in Syracuse, N.Y., and then probably start the first game after the All-Star Break against the Mets.

The corresponding move will come Tuesday. It's likely John Mayberry Jr. who will return to the majors, providing Charlie Manuel with an extra bat and another center fielder with questions about Shane Victorino's availability.

All in all, without Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton for a period in the first half, the Phillies could not have imagined a better scenario than the one Worley presented.

The rotation for the rest of the first half is as follows:

Tuesday at FLA: Cole Hamels
Wednesday at FLA: Kyle Kendrick
Thursday: OFF
Friday vs. ATL: Roy Halladay
Saturday vs. ATL: Cliff Lee
Sunday vs. ATL: Cole Hamels*

*That start will prohibit Hamels from pitching at all in the All-Star Game.

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