DUNEDIN, Fla. - The Phillies bench situation continues to be a work in progress. Former Phillie and non-roster outfielder Bobby Abreu, who earlier had seemed assured of making the team, has a sore shoulder. He did not take batting practice on Monday for the second straight day.
The Phillies must add Abreu to the roster by Wednesday or he can request his release. He is 40 and did not play in the majors last season.
Manager Ryne Sandberg is optimistic that Abreu can return Tuesday. "He thought he would be fine with two days rest," Sandberg said Monday after a 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
In addition, if the Phillies don't add non-roster infielder Ronny Cedeno to the roster by Tuesday, they must offer him a $100,000 retention bonus to send him to triple A.
"It's really tough but I don't have control of that," said Cedeno, 31. "Whatever decision they make I will respect them."
Cesar Hernandez has emerged as a viable candidate for a roster spot. Last year he played second base and center field during a 34-game stay with the Phillies. The Phillies, who favor bench players who can play several positions, are determining if Hernandez has the range to play shortstop or third base.
The Phillies have 37 players on their 40-man roster after they outrighted Kevin Frandsen to Lehigh Valley on Sunday. Hernandez is already a member of the 40-man roster, which won't hurt his cause.
Non-roster outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., Hernandez and backup catcher Wil Nieves appear to have the inside track to make the opening day roster.
John Mayberry Jr. has a guaranteed $1.6 million contract, which makes him awfully hard to trade.
The Phillies also have a number of pitching decisions to make. Non-roster pitchers such as Jeff Manship, David Buchanan and reliever Shawn Camp have enjoyed strong springs.
Cole Hamels threw for the second time in three days and was thrilled with how his body responded. He tossed an elongated bullpen session Monday morning. The next step is game action, possibly in the form of a minor-league scrimmage after the Phillies break camp Thursday.
"I'm back in spring training form," Hamels said. "Now I just have to get the innings."
The lefthander is still a month behind schedule after a bout with biceps tendinitis but could make up time as he builds arm strength.
Roberto Hernandez, projected to be the fourth starter with Hamels out, pitched in Monday's minor-league intrasquad scrimmage . . . Sandberg said Manship would pitch Tuesday against the Yankees and opening-day starter Cliff Lee would start Wednesday against the Tigers. . . . Buchanan will pitch in Saturday's exhibition game at Citizens Bank Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates. His ERA this spring is 2.25.