ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - With closer Brad Lidge back from the 15-day disabled list, the Phillies' tired bullpen recovers an important member, although it will continue to miss Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey.
"It's going to be really big for our bullpen," to have Lidge back, said manager Charlie Manuel. "I think we're going to be able to put our guys in the right position."
Pitching coach Rich Dubee said earlier that while Lidge's return will solidify the late-inning structure - Lidge assumes ninth-inning responsibilities, Ryan Madson returns to the eighth inning, and J.C. Romero can pitch the seventh inning or face tough lefthanders in the eighth - the middle-relief situation remains murky.
"It's going to have to be a situational thing," Dubee said. With swingman Condrey (strained muscle in his side) and lefty specialist Eyre (strained calf) on the 15-day disabled list, no one in the bullpen will step directly into their roles.
Lefthander Sergio Escalona was optioned to triple-A Lehigh Valley yesterday to make room for Lidge on the roster, leaving Jack Taschner as the only lefty in the bullpen other than Romero. Asked if Taschner would temporarily step into Eyre's role, Dubee said, "Have you seen Taschner's numbers against lefties? They're high."
Lefties are batting .296 against Taschner, compared with .297 for righties. Dubee said that he and Manuel would look at specific matchups when deciding whether to summon Taschner, Chad Durbin, Tyler Walker or Chan Ho Park in a particular situation.
"It's a situational thing," said Dubee. "There's no definite way that we're going to use these guys, other than Romero, Madson and Lidge."
The Phillies flipped Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ in the rotation, meaning that Hamels will start tonight in Toronto and Happ will start tomorrow. The move was intended to give Hamels five starts before the all-star break instead of four, and keep him from dealing with too long a layoff in mid-July.
Pitchers Kyle Drabek (Reading) and Yohan Flande (Clearwater) were selected to play in the 2009 Futures Game, a showcase of top prospects that will take place in St. Louis during the week of the All-Star Game.