Pete Mackanin keeps a red spiral Phillies notebook on the desk in his manager’s office, filling the pages with each transaction his team makes as it creeps toward the season’s finish line.
“I hope I have enough space on there to fill in all the moves,” the manager said. “But today is another day.”
Mackanin had to find room for Drew Anderson, who was promoted Wednesday from triple A. He will have to write another on Thursday when Jake Thompson is added to start the series finale against the Marlins. The Phillies will likely make a bevy of similar moves during the final five weeks as they try to piece together pitching to finish the season.
“Every team has injuries but some pitchers weren’t as effective as we’d like to see,” Mackanin said.
Anderson had a 3.59 ERA in 21 starts this season for double-A Reading. The 23-year-old righthander struck out 86 and walked 40 in 107 2/3 innings. He had been expected to start Wednesday for triple-A Lehigh Valley before being promoted to the Phillies.
It is unlikely that the team’s current rotation – Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Mark Leiter Jr., Ben Lively, and Thompson – will be the same group that finishes the season.
But finding replacements will be a challenge. Anderson, who is likely to return to triple A on Thursday, is an option. Zach Eflin (shoulder) is on the disabled list but should return soon. Nick Pivetta was sent back to triple A. Tom Eshelman and Brandon Leibrandt are pitching well at triple A but both are on innings limit. The Phillies signed 27-year-old Henderson Alvarez, a former all-star who hasn’t been in the majors since 2015 and was pitching for the Long Island Ducks, to a minor-league contract with the hope that he can make a few starts in September.
A long season is shaping up to end with a long month. And the manager may need a new notebook.
“We’ll just wait and see,” Mackanin said. “I hope we have enough bullpen help. We’ll be all right. Won’t we?”
Herrera ready to return
Mackanin said Odubel Herrera should return to the Phillies on Saturday, the first day that he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list. Herrera has been sidelined since Aug. 14 with a sore left hamstring.
The Phillies are desperate for his return as they started Pedro Florimon in right field on Wednesday as Nick Williams moved to take Herrera’s place. Aaron Altherr (hamstring) is expected to return sometime in September. Daniel Nava (back strain) is close to returning, Mackanin said. Mackanin will be challenged to find playing time for Rhys Hoskins, Williams, Altherr, Herrera, and Nava once they are all active. Hoskins will likely have to see increased time at first base.
Former Phillie Vance Worley will start Thursday for Miami against Thompson. Worley, 29, has a 4.82 ERA this season and has a 4.85 ERA in four games against the Phillies. …Tommy Joseph and Andres Blanco homered in each game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, making them the first teammates to do so since Barry Bonds and J.T. Snow in 1999. … The Phillies made room for Anderson by optioning outfielder Cameron Perkins to triple A. Perkins batted .177 in 79 at-bats with the Phillies.