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Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
WASHINGTON -- The message to Vance Worley delivered by Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee was clear.
"We'll see you shortly," Worley recalled them saying. "You're a part of this team. You'll be back."
But for now, Worley is headed back to triple-A Lehigh Valley as he was optioned to the minors after Monday's 5-4 win over the Nationals.
After two impressive starts earlier this season, Worley was moved to the bullpen and served as a setup man. He went 20 days without throwing more than three innings in a game. It has showed in his last two starts, when he has pitched a total of eight innings with 18 hits, 12 runs (8 earned) and an even strikeout-to-walk ratio (4:4).
He needs work and the Phillies would rather that come in the minors.
"We want him to start pitching and get back to where he was when he was throwing the ball real good," Charlie Manuel said. "He'll be in a regular turn, get stretched out, and get his pitch count built up."
Conditioning was a hinderance in the past for Worley, and it's what held him back from being a prospect until early last season. He said he was tired in the third inning of his start May 24 against Cincinnati and then could not pitch beyond the third inning against the Mets on Sunday.
"There's things I need to work on anyway," Worley said. "It's been a work in progress. I'm fine with it. I know what I need to do. I'll be back in a start or two."
As for how the Phillies will fill Worley's spot on the roster and in the rotation, there are some unknowns. The team will announce a corresponding roster move Tuesday. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock would not say definitively if a pitcher would be added.
The Phillies can skip Worley's spot in the rotation because of an off day Thursday. The rest of the rotation would still start on regular rest. A fifth starter would not be needed until June 8.
Manuel was asked if Kyle Kendrick could start Saturday in place of Worley.
"We don't know yet," Manuel said. "We haven't really talked about it. There's a chance. That will be decided in the next couple of days."
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