Kendrick cleared to pitch Saturday

Kyle Kendrick does not have a concussion and will be able to make his scheduled start Saturday against the Braves. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

PITTSBURGH -- The Phillies' last best hope to show general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that he should keep the core together probably has arrived.

The three games this week at PNC Park against Pittsburgh, the team with the best record in baseball, will be followed by three games at home against Atlanta, the team that leads the National League East.

Win those two series and maybe the general manager will buy instead of sell.

In that respect, the Phillies at least received some good news when they found out that righthander Kyle Kendrick will be able to make his scheduled start Saturday against the Braves.

"Kyle had  another test (Monday) and it came out very good," Amaro said before Tuesday's game against the Pirates. "He had an exertion test (Tuesday) morning and did very well. He's going to throw a bullpen (Wednesday) and he should be good to go for his start. Good news."

Kendrick suffered what Amaro termed a mild concussion when he was hit in the helmet by Los Angeles pitcher Stephen Fife during the sixth inning of the Phillies' game Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Kendrick remained in the game and pitched the bottom of the sixth, but complained of a headache afterward.

"He's fine," Amaro said. "He feels fine. I think it was a very mild one when they did the original testing after the game two days ago. He's doing really well. He even text me to tell me he was really well, which is unusual."

The general manager was also asked about shortstop Jimmy Rollins' comments following the loss Sunday against the Dodgers.

"It’s a journey,” Rollins said during his postgame interview. “You jump on that plane and enjoy the ride. As long as that plane is in the air, you have a chance to do something. Last I checked, we haven’t made it to the All-Star break. We’ve been in tougher positions with much less time.”

Amaro didn't entirely disagree, but admitted a turnaround has to happen in a hurry.

"I agree with the fact that it is early enough," the general manager said. "We could still make a move, but we've got to play better and we better do it soon."

Injury updates

Amaro also gave three other injury updates on catcher Erik Kratz and pitchers Michael Stutes and Jeremy Horst.

"Kratzy has been catching bullpens (in Clearwater, Fla.) and started a running program," Amaro said. "He's going to be closer to four weeks (out) than six weeks."

The backup catcher has been sidelined since June 9 with a left knee injury that required surgery and could be cleared to begin a rehab when he's examined by team physician Michael Ciccotti Friday.

Amaro said Horst (sprained elbow) has begun a throwing program in Clearwater, but Stutes (biceps tendinitis) has not.