SEATTLE -- When the Phillies infielders, head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan and pitching coach Rich Dubee all converged on Vance Worley after he was struck by an Ichiro line drive in the fifth inning, the conversation soon turned to laughter.
After the Phillies' 5-1 win over the Mariners, Worley was still smiling about it.
"Do you wanna see it?" he said. "It looks good. It feels good too."
He lifted up his shorts to reveal the damage: A large bruise that had already turned a few different colors. When Dubee came to the mound, he warned Worley that it would be black and blue soon.
"And green, purple," Worley shot back. "It's going to have the whole rainbow."
He could laugh because the Phillies won, and Worley could at least boast matching Felix Hernandez for five innings. It was a taxing five innings, requiring 96 pitches. But Seattle scored only once because Worley could wiggle out of jams.
He threw those 96 pitches despite constantly throwing strikes early in the count. He could not find a successful out pitch and that led to deep counts. The problem, Worley said, was relying too much on his secondary stuff.
The 23-year-old threw his fastball just 29 percent of the time and used his cutter and slider extensively.
"I got ahead," Worley said. "And then I think with the secondary stuff I was trying to do too much. It didn't really do anything. They'd foul it off. I'd throw it too hard and it would be a ball. Then my pitch count would go up from there.
"My cutter hasn't been great. I had Dubee telling me in between innings saying 'Hey you're not doing this with it.' So I'd go out the next inning and try to do it and then I'd overthrow. It would be too far in or I'd bounce it."
Charlie Manuel, for one, offered unsolicited praise of Worley.
"Worley threw better than he had been before," the manager said. "After a couple innings, his velocity started getting back up to 93, 94. When he does that, it makes his secondary pitches better. He was a little wild at times. But battled and he pitched well."
The Phillies will face a choice on their fifth starter for Friday's game against Oakland. Kyle Kendrick threw seven strong innings in his last outing.
What may sway the decision is Kendrick's ability to pitch out of the bullpen. It's highly unlikely the Phillies keep Worley in the majors if he is not the fifth starter because of the problems his last stint in the bullpen created. Kendrick, however, has shown he can be a swing man, moving from the bullpen to the rotation when needed.
Manuel said he hasn't even thought about his permanent fifth starter.
"I'll start thinking about it when I go back to the motel room," he said.
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