Phillies Notes | Happ just happy to get first start

Phillies Notes

With about 20 friends and relatives from Illinois in the stands this afternoon, lefthander J.A. Happ will make his major-league debut when the Phillies face the first-place New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

Nervous? Excited?

"A little of both," said Happ, who was 1-2 with a 4.02 ERA and 10 no-decisions in 13 starts with triple-A Ottawa. "But I'm more excited than anything."

Manager Charlie Manuel said he would determine whether Happ or J.D. Durbin - who allowed six runs in 42/3 innings in yesterday's 6-5 opening-game loss to the Mets - stays in the rotation based on their weekend performances.

Happ, 24, said the start was more significant because the Phils were trying to catch the Mets.

"When I first heard I was coming up, I was super excited," he said, "and then when I found out it was the Mets, I knew how important it was. I'm just going to try to go out there and give them some quality innings, and hopefully, give them a boost."

Welcome back

Chris Coste rejoined the club and slammed a pinch-hit home run in the first game of the doubleheader. Coste hit .287 with five homers and 31 RBIs in 108 at-bats with double-A Reading, where he said he was "a little impatient" while waiting for a call to the majors. "But at the same time, I knew that at any moment I could get called up, and that kept me going," the catcher said.

In 68 games as a rookie with the Phillies last year, Coste batted .328 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs; he hit .356 with runners in scoring position.

Roster move

After yesterday's opener, the Phillies designated reliever Clay Condrey (3-0, 7.36 ERA) for assignment and added lefthander J.C. Romero, whom they signed recently after he was released by the Boston Red Sox. That gives the club a J.C., a J.A. (Happ), and a J.D. (Durbin).

Extra bases

In last night's nightcap, leftfielder Pat Burrell started for just the fourth time in the last 12 games. Burrell had a pinch-hit RBI single in the opener. . . . At a corresponding point last season, the Phils were in third place with a 36-44 record, 12 games out of first. . . . Entering yesterday, the Phillies were first in the league in runs (407), tied for second in batting average (.269), and third in home runs (90). They were next to last in ERA (4.88) and homers allowed (98). . . . Shane Victorino was not in the starting lineup in either game; he had two at-bats in the opener. An MRI exam of Jayson Werth's injured left wrist showed no structural damage. . . . Reliever Brian Sanches is expected to be demoted to the minors to make room for Happ.

- Sam Carchidi