Last week was not a good one for Phillies pitchers, three important members of the staff went down with various injuries. While it is unlikely we will see a future Hall of Famer in our owner’s box announcing he is coming to fill the void, I wonder if Pat Gillick will use this opportunities to bring in some fresh arms. Something will have to be done to keep the shred of momentum going that has helped the team begin to overcome its perennial slow start to the season. There will be many decisions made this week, but much of the information needed is still pending. Here is the scope of the latest rash of injuries.
Yesterday in a bizarre event, Freddy Garcia collided with a small John Deere tractor that was parked in centerfield during batting practice. The incident, replayed during last night’s ESPN broadcast, involved a Ryan Howard fly ball that Garcia was trying to track down until he ran right into the truck’s bed. His left shin took the brunt of the accident and was immediately iced down after Garcia was driven back to the dugout. There are a lot of distractions during batting practice, that’s why they have nets protecting certain spot. There’s no question a tractor on the field is an accident waiting to happen, but I never understood why pitchers shag fly balls before games. I wouldn’t imagine they are very familiar with judging 300 foot fly balls when they rarely leave the circle 60 feet from the plate. Nonetheless, the freak injury now puts Garcia’s start tonight in jeopardy. The Phillies wanted to see if the leg stiffens up over night, and according to Charlie Manuel – ever the realist – "If he says he’s OK, he’ll probably start."
Ryan Madson also went down over the weekend and his injury was a bit more serious. On Saturday this Phillies placed him on the 15-day DL with a strained left oblique muscle. This has been a nagging problem since Spring Training but according to Madson only this week has it begun to affect his pitching. (I wonder how it felt the first two games of the year.) Madson and the busy Phillies medical staff should know more today as there tests are scheduled back home in Philly. In the meantime, the club recalled right-hander Clay Condrey. Condrey opened the season in the majors and posted a 2.25 ERA in three games. Condrey will be following Yoel Hernandez out of Ottawa, as the latter was recalled after Tom Gordon went down.
Speaking of which, Tom Gordon, the third injured Phillies pitcher, is due back next Thursday, May 17. In his stead, Brett Myers has held down the fort, last night recording his second save in as many opportunities. Cole Hamels improved his record to 4-1 and Ryan Howard hit a bomb to center despite complaining of a sore left quad. Perhaps that’s the the reason he now resides on the wrong side of the Mendoza line. In any case the injuries are piling up for the Fightins, how will the Phillies respond?