Are you tired of the constant flow injury news yet? I hope not because we have got plenty to discuss today.
Jon Lieber injured his left groin muscle last night after fielding a seemingly harmless groundball in the second inning. He will thus move from the starting rotation to the 15-day DL and there has been no word yet on who will take his place starting. The Phils called up 27-year old righthander Brian Sanches from Scranton to take his roster spot. In AAA, Sanches went 2-2 with a 2.49 ERA while recording 7 saves but it is not certain he will get a chance to start. Rich Dubee ruled out a Clay Condrey start despite pitching well in four relief innings and earning the win last night. There has been no mention of Eudo Brito who has pitched decently for the Red Barons but since Sanches has already been called up it looks like Brito will remain in the minors.
Lieber’s injury does mean that for the time being questions over Gavin Floyd’s role in the rotation will have to be muted. Some have speculated that Cole Hamels’ good health coupled with Madson’s return to form might squeeze out Floyd. Hamels comes off the DL on Saturday – the same day as Lieber’s would-be next start – but is scheduled for a rehab start on Thursday with Lakewood and Gillick has ruled him out for starting for the Phillies this weekend. So the question lingers, who will start for the Phillies Saturday in LA? Well surely not Randy Wolf who is gradually making his way back and pitched to seven batters yesterday in Clearwater. His velocity declined a bit but he was able to throw his curveball for strikes and maintain good location on his fastball. He is expected back in five weeks.
No matter who pitches Saturday, it is likely Mike Lieberthal will be catching as he returned from the DL yesterday. This means that phase one of Carlos Ruiz experiment will come to an end – he was optioned back to Scranton before yesterday’s game. It will be interesting to see how he performs offensively back in AAA since he struggled with the Phils after dominating earlier in the year with the Red Barons. Will his Phillies slump be sustained or will he regain his swing? More importantly though, is even if he accomplishes the latter does that mean he’ll only ever be able to hit AAA pitching?