The Phillies announced this weekend that an MRI uncovered a ruptured tendon in Jon Lieber’s right foot. It’s a pretty bad injury and Lieber has two options. He can either have to wait for the tendon to heal then begin rehab program which would likely take three months or he can have surgery and be done for the season. As a 37-year old pitcher in the final year of an overpriced contract, this could have serious implications on Lieber’s career. This season he has gone 3-6 and posted a 4.73 ERA, but his last game was indicative of his recent starts – allowing 5+ runs in an inning en route to a Phillies loss. Although the team has not benefited greatly from Lieber’s starts, starting pitchers who once grew on trees in March, are at a premium at this point in the season.
One option of course, would be to reinsert Brett Myers into the rotation after he returns from the DL. John Kruk suggested this on TV yesterday claiming that Antonio Alfonseca has done a good enough job closing to give him the spot for good and free up Myers to start again. Brett went on the 15-day DL over a month ago and even after saying he would be ready on June 18, is still not healthy. Over the weekend, Myers and his recovering throwing shoulder tossed 30 pitches in a bullpen session. Simply put, he is barely ready to come back to the team let alone throw 70, 80, 90 pitches in a start. The Phillies are going to have to look elsewhere for a new starter for Friday and every fifth day for the rest of the season.
Maybe Mark Buerhle is the answer. After White Sox GM Ken Williams denied that a trade to Boston was eminent, he did hint at the lefty’s availablity. "At least seven teams have made serious contact with Williams… the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets were the leading contenders until this weekend, with the Boston Red Sox now becoming the front-runner." There’s a chance the Phillies could be one of the other four teams in contention for Buehrle. The Sox always did want Aaron Rowand back; though Buerhle is in the final year of his contract. I don’t see this trade happening, it would be too much, too soon for Pat Gillick to make that kind of a move this early in the season.
Look for the Phillies to give another minor leaguer a crack. I think J.A. Happ is this front runner in this case. He had a good tryout with the club this spring and has put up decent numbers at Ottawa. Expect an official announcement soon.