Monday, July 23, 2012

7/24 Brief: Hamels, July

Sign Hamels or trade him I'd say. He'll give us a fair shot but I don't think he'll sign with us in free agency. Draft picks are not enough for this old team.

Polly: unless he has a .272/.294/.430 line, buy out his contract. Younger is better... despite few solutions in the minors or on the market. Galvis??? Overbeck???

July: needed to avoid loosing streaks. This month post-ASG was still slightly better than June. NOT ENOUGH TO BUY.

Injuries: Schneider to rehab with Class A Clearwater, Nix Acitvated, Polly's back flared up.

Tyson Gillies: put him on waivers, take him off the 40-man.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trade Deadline Thoughts - 7/19/12

Shane Victorino. Yes, he had a good road trip. More importantly, he has been much too worried about his contract all year. He'll command about nine to twelve million per year instead of 12-18 million because of his down year. My call: I'm leaning toward trading once Nix returns (COMING SOON!) and we see if Mayberry and Pridie can platoon in center. However, he's worth keeping on an arbitration-only deal as we develop players, including Brown. Next year, Manuel might try a platoon of Brown and Mayberry in center and left field along with Nix who signed a two-year deal last offseason. Speaking of Nix, he is close to returning.

Hunter Pence. Easy call: you keep him. Why? We got rid of FOUR good prospects to get him and he is under arbitration for another year. He had a stellar road trip: two clutch, two-run singles with the bases loaded. That's what he failed to do in the first half of the season, especially before Utley came back. You cannot trade a guy that quickly and he's a great piece to have in the five & six spot the rest of the year.

Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick. Joe's owed $3.6MM the rest of the year. KK's owed about $4MM this year and next. I'd say give a spot start or two to Cloyd (HE IS READY!), and if he passes, trade one of these guys for a prospect. You can add Victorino to the mix and get three prospects. This trade would function to make the team younger and it might free-up about $3MM in salary cap space. Heck, the plan is to say bye to Joe this winter, so why not get prospects and give Cloyd a shot?

Cliff Lee. Here's a challenge. Send him back to Texas? No way, but if you can get Mike Olt as part of a major package, the least the Phils should do is listen. Ultimately, Im against it, but I consider (1) the age - Lee is 34 and Hamels is 28 - and (2) that Halladay is 35 and just finished a seven-week stint on the DL. Hamels would be 34 or 35 when his deal is up. I wouldn't be too happy, but if you are able to sign Hamels right now and get Olt, then the Phillies should consider it.

Cole Hamels. Catch-22: Are you able to resign him in the off-season? Predict the future and make the right call, Ruben and you'd be a hero. This is touchy. My call: keep and resign is more likely but I'd like to get some more out of it than two extra picks in the first two days. If you extend him, it;s over. If not, begin negotiating for a large package and get the deal done by 7/27. A large package is probable.

Forgot Rollins and Polly. Not sure there.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Derby Recap

Congrats to Prince Fielder for winning the competition; he becomes the first player to win for both leagues but is the second player (Griffey Jr) to win it multiple times. I also congratulate the fans for their uninspiring display of hometown loyalty... you took it way too far. Cano deserved better. Classless of KC - just because Butler wasn't invited despite Cano's promise to include a Royal. The players he chose were the top three hitters in the competition. We all remember Prince Fielder getting booed last year for not including hometown Diamondback Justin Upton, but the fans were more friendly in Phoenix than here in KC.

Poll Question: should there now be a forced hometown participant?

Game Recap

The National League shut-out the American League 8-0 thanks to contributions from the San Fransisco Giants' All-Stars. The MVP is Melkey Cabrera, responsible for the first run & a homer later on. Pablo Sandoval broke open the scoring early with a first-inning bases-clearing triple. Both players are Giants. The Phillies All-Stars - Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, and J. Papelbon - participated in the second half of the game. Chooch and Dickey came in as defensive replacements in the 6th inning; Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh; and Papelbon recorded the final out, stranding a runner at third in the process.

Next Year: Citi Field - New York Mets' home.

All-Star Voting Proposal

Because the fans voted for Buster Posey instead of Carlos Ruiz, Matt Cain started the All-Star game and R.A. Dickey had to come into the game in the sixth inning along with Chooch. At third base, despite a big hit by Pablo Sandoval, I still think that Mets 3B David Wright deserved the nod. Yes, the Giants came through, but I still feel that many were short-changed. Some changes are necessary to the fan vote… a panel of experts (now referred to as the “selection committee”) should select players and decide whether the fans’ selection deserves to start. Other changes are necessary as well, so let’s dive into my proposed changes to the game.

The fan vote now includes pitchers. The committee must have a 60% majority 27 votes) to change the fans’ selection of hitters from “starter” to “bench player.” The starting catcher will be decided by the manager. The final roster spot doesn’t change but hitters and pitchers are among the choices.

The player vote and managerial selections do not change but all divisions must be represented in the manager’s choices. The selection committee picks alternates and the NL DH. The battery and batting order are decided by the manager. All teams should be represented but one team can be left off the selection show roster. That team must be represented next year if their player is not on the final roster.

Due to the committee needing time to make the roster, the voting would end one week earlier.

Phillies Mid-season Report:

First-Half Grades:

  • Offense: After mid-April, they scored over four RPG on average, despite having year-round problems with bringing home RISP. Most of the players have been either hot year-round (Chooch, Fontenot, & Pierre) or on a recent surge (Mayberry, Rollins, Pence, Polanco, etc.). Victorino is quite a notable exception and is likely to be traded. The return of Utley and Howard had no effect due to quicksand but they can now "start anew." Nix is set to return by this weekend. Perhaps Rube can address the age of these guys on the trade market. GRADE: B-
  • Defense: It was shaky at times, especially after Galvis went down. Pence, Pierre, and Wigginton noticeably struggled. During their recent dominance in the NL East, the defense has been a strong suit. Not so much this year, but it has improved over the past two months. Due to the aforementioned standard they set and that some of the errors led to a few losses, I have to be harsh despite improvements. GRADE: C+
  • Rotation: A sub-par 3.32 ERA through May 27, when Halladay went down and a 4.72 ERA since. Lee had no wins in April, May or June despite pitching well in the first trimester. Blanton started strong but fell victim to the long ball. Kendrick struggled - he excelled in the spot-start/ long-man role last year and got a contract extension because of it. Lee and Worley also missed significant time. They blew leads. The rotation was supposed to be our crutch, helping us to stay at .500 until Howard and Utley got back. I guess the pressure got to them. At least Hamels stepped-up but he may not be here for much longer - more below.  I consider an inevitable regression (102 wins non-repeatable) but still, this is bad. Maybe it's time to call up Tyler Cloyd? GRADE: C-
  • Bullpen: The players had their good days, but bad days dominated: personnel changed numerous times but the bullpen blew 30+ leads or ties. Deikman, Papelbon, and Schwimmer were the most consistent bright spots. The righties (Herndon, De Fratus  & Contreras) were injured. Qualls did well in his first few appearances, derailed, and rarely had a good outing. Yes, after Halladay went down, the bullpen had more work, but they failed even when they pitched the fewest innings. Now for the grade: I take Charlie's poor decision-making, the inevitable regression, and injuries into account but the 'pen is the biggest reason why we've lost so many.... Now, it is up to Rube to find a reliable veteran to stabilize the relief core. GRADE: D
  • Overall Grade: Injuries can only go so far in explaining the first half. They were capable of having a winning record. Nothing clicked. After May 27th when Halladay went down, they certainly "f[ou]nd ways to loose." Perhaps a coaching staff change and calling up some prospects will make a difference? GRADE: D-/F+

Second-Half Outlook:

They are capable of a comeback. Under Manuel, the Phillies have had excellent second-half records. Don't set your sights too high: they are 14 back in their division and ten games behind Atlanta for the 2nd Wild Card spot. They need to win every series from here on to even contend for a playoff berth. Yes - just last year, the Cardinals and Rays came back to win the wild card. And Philadelphia fans cannot forget the 2007 and 2010 Phillies teams. Keep in mind that those four teams had winning records in August and also that historic collapses are rare. There is, however, plenty of time. I am more confident of 79-83 wins this year than 86-92 wins.

As for trading, we need a hitter and reliever. We have trade bait other than Hamels: Victorino, Blanton and Pence are names; heck, Rollins recently surfaced. We should begin to let some prospects loose. Tyler Cloyd (12-1, 6.1 IP/ start, 1.93 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 6.32 K/9, and a .210 BAA in 19 starts (four with Reading) should be granted his first career start. Brown had a recent surge when discovering center field and the knee injury didn't stop his bat or glove: he had an outfield assist and reached base twice in four PA's yesterday. Nix's return within the week should help and De Fratus is less than a month from returning to game action.

Things can only get better from here.


He'll receive an offer worth about $120MM over six years. If he doesn't sign the extension, he'll give every team (including the Phils) a fair shake in free agency this winter even if he's traded. I'd offer him a five-year, $120-130MM, middle-loaded deal with a $24MM vesting option for 2018. If unable to sign, I'd say trade him for a decent package, but you have a better chance of resigning him if he's here all year: CATCH-22.

Rockies Series: 8:40 PM in Colorado. Lee is pitching. Hamels and Worley will pitch in games two & three.

Injury Report:

Halladay (right lat. dorsi strain) & Nix (calf injury) played in Clearwater today. Halladay went three innings (3 H, 4 K, 1 R (unearned)) and Nix went 1-3 with a walk as the DH. For details on the rehab of De Fratus (elbow), Brown (knee) and Gillies (concussion), see this article. Schneider (ankle sprain) will play soon.

Out for Season: Stutes (shoulder surgery), Herndon (Tommy John surgery), and Contreras (TJ surgery & flexor tendon tear).

I am done updating this entry (11:42 PM 17 July). My next entry will be early next week - perhaps they went 4-2 or 5-1 on the road trip and swept the Giants, which will be a good start. Enjoy the games!

Monday, July 2, 2012

All-Star News, Trades & Rumors, Injury Report - 7/2/12

I thought I'd update you on Phillies news since there's a lot to cover. We'll discuss the All-Star game, trades and rumors, and an injury update key players. The Phillies are off today and have six games to play before the All-Star Game: three at NY Mets and three against the Braves. They have a 36-45 record (nine games under .500) - in last place in the NL East (11.0 games behind the Nats) - and have six teams ahead of them in the race for the second wild card spot. AND Cliff Lee is still win-less - mostly due to his recent struggles.

I suggest reading this article by's David Schoenfield for an analysis of the Phillies' current situation.

All-Star Roster:
  • Catcher Carlos Ruiz, who leads the NL and majors with a batting average above .350, will be the back-up to starting catcher Buster Posey. This is his first selection. #VOTE4CHOOCH didn't work, but at least he's on the roster.
  • Cole Hamels' ten wins (one of only a few to have double-digit wins) earns him his third selection. He made the roster last year but could not participate due to starting the Sunday before the dance. He has a 10-4 record in 16 starts, throwing 111.0 innings; his ERA is just above 3.00, He has a 1.10 WHIP and strikes out 8.5 batters per 9.0 innings pitched.
  • Jonathan Papelbon only blew one save in 30 games (29.2 innings). He is 2-2 with 18 saves, an ERA & WHIP similar to Hamels, along with a 1.25 strikeout per inning rate. Most of his struggles have been during non-save situations. This is his fifth career selection, but his first representing an NL-team.

All-Star Final Vote

  • The Phillies have sent PH-DH Jim Thome to Baltimore for two single-A prospects. They also traded RHR Chad Qualls to the Yankees for a prospect or cash considerations.
  • According to ESPN, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. is calling teams about trading Cole Hamels for a package of prospects. While the Phillies are not sellers yet, they are exploring all their options. Hamels will become a free-agent after this season, possibly earning $120 million over five years or $135-140 million over six years, not including an option year and bonuses.

Injury Updates:
  • Second-baseman Chase Utley (knee issues) has returned in epic fashion, hitting a homer in his first at-bat and going 3 for 5 overall in his season debut. It will take him until the end of July to be able to play everyday. He will need regular rest during the season. Freddy Galvis (pars fracture of lower back, suspension) will likely play third base during his rehab to prepare him for the utility role currently occupied by Mike Fontenot.
  • Ironpigs OF Domonic Brown (knee sprain) will return to action sometime this week. He is playing mostly in left field but has recently played a few games in center. The renewed confidence in his newly-found fielding depth has transposed well to his bat, as I posted before. Note: Shane Victorino is a free agent following the season, which could pave the way for a Mayberry-Brown-Pence outfield in 2013.
  • First-baseman Ryan Howard (Achilles surgery/ infection) is rehabbing in the minors, starting with Lakewood, where his 29 jersey is retired. He has until the off day on July 19th to return.
  • RHS Roy Halladay (shoulder/ upper back strain) is interchanging bullpen sessions with throwing off a mound. He eyes a return within ten days of the All-Star break. A rehab start is likely.

We can only hope the current situation gets better. There is good news: our key players are starting to return. At this point, the Phillies need to win every series during the second half to even have a chance at a playoff berth. But it could be done: the Mets collapse in 2007 and last year's simultaneous collapse of the Red Sox & Braves are proof that anything can happen over the course of a 162-game schedule. There is still a chance. Thanks to David Schoenfield for the use of his article on some of the points I made today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Latest injury report - 6/27/12

Utley - "HEEEEE's BAAAAACCCK!!!" - 3 for 5 w/ a HR (back-to-back with Chooch in the 1st) tonight. He will get a day off for every two games played this week.

Howard - to start a rehab assignment (DH role) with Lakewood (A- Affiliate) Thursday. Has until the end of the post-All-Star road trip to return; most likely not to return before ASG. He won't be 100% this year, only 80-85 percent. He'll need another off-season to be 100% but he will give it all he's got when he returns.

Halladay - a week away from throwing from a mound, expect him to make a rehab start or two.

Scooch - to miss about 3-5 weeks

Stutes - had the surgery, will be shut down for at least ten (10) weeks.

Nix - suffered the  et-back last week but will resume rehab in a week. Hopefully, the tightness will subside.

Ironpigs OF Domonic Brown - sent to DL with a sprained left knee. Out for about two more weeks.

COMING SOON: What To Do With Chad Qualls

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Injury Updates:
  1. 2B Chase Utley (chondromalacia in left knee) will play 2B in about three games for the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs (AAA Affiliate) in order to see better pitching. Activation set for Wednesday; Utility infielder Michael Martinez is my candidate for the demotion.
  2. Ace Roy Halladay (right lat. dorsi strain) continues his long toss program: will throw from 120 ft.
  3. Righty reliever Michael Stutes (shoulder issue) will undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday. Likely to miss the remainder of the season.
  4. 1B Ryan Howard (Achillies rehab) will begin to play for the Clearwater Threshers (A+ Affiliate) this week. Just like Utley, he has 20 days from the start of the assignment to be acitvated unless there's a set-back.
Phillies-Rays Game One Recap:
  1. Papelbon allowed his first runs in a save situation today, blowing another lead, but was bailed out by Jim Thome who pinch-hit for him. Pap almost got the loss on Thursday but a walk-off error bailed him out.
  2. Thome's walk-off homer was his first successful pinch-hit of the year, giving him 609 homers (tying Sosa for 7th All-Time) and 13 walk-off homers (most by any player) for his career.
  3. The win gave Charlie Manuel, who managed Thome in four stints, his 900th career managerial victory, which is his 680th as a Phillies manager. Those stints include manager of the Indians in the minors & majors and as manager of the Phillies in '04 & '05.

  1. Roster: The new CBA allows teams to have 26 active players for doubleheaders. Not sure on whether it will be used or not.
  2. Matchups:
  • 1:05 PM: Hamels vs. Price
  • 6:35 PM: Lee vs. Cobb

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6/19/12 - A Brief Focus on Jim Thome

Note: This was edited on Sunday morning. I didn't include the walk-off HR.


Since the Phillies no longer have the DH in the remaining 94-game regular season, Jim Thome – who played as DH in all nine interleague road games going 12/36 (.333) with 6 Ks, 14 RBIs, two 2B, 4 HRs (becoming the fourth player to hit 100 HRs for three different teams), and 4 BB – will be relegated to the bench. Here’s what I think has to happen if Thome will have “continued success” as a Phillie this year:

Thome must still play at 1B (four-to-six innings every twelve days against right-handed pitching) and will ALWAYS be the first lefty off the bench unless he's being saved for a better match-up. This gives him as much PAs as possible without risking too much wear and tear on his back. There is no substitute for regular PAs. To compensate for the loss of PAs for bench guys and reduce the risk of injury to the old guys, the thirty-plus-year-old infielders (including Howard & Utley when they return) must be given a day off every five or ten days. I’ve called for this during the preseason and Charlie has not done so. He actually may benefit from this strategy: this year’s bench is performing better overall than last year’s bench, and call-ups like Luna & Fontenot have dazzled from the get-go. However, I still miss Wilson Valdez!!!

Let’s talk about the rest of the hitters, starting with the outfielders. Except for Victorino (bad year) and Pierre (stellar year), Mayberry and Pence have turned it around in June. Pence (and the entire team) has trouble hitting with RISP. Mayberry and Luna give Manuel defensive versatility: they can play all the outfield positions and first base (Luna also can fill in at the utility positions). And Martinez can play center field. Noteworthy, when Domonic Brown, who recently re-injured his knee after getting a hot bat, is finally ready for the big leagues, he could play center field.

Moving on, our catchers are performing spectacularly with Chooch’s hot bat & stellar defense leading the way despite some wear-and-tear (the cramp/ oblique issue) and a few close calls with collisions. Scooch has good moments and improved offense. I’d like to see Kratz play more if he’s on the roster. Give Chooch his usual days off; perhaps tweak it to let Scooch catch for Worley. #VOTE4CHOOCH PLEASE!!!

So, Thome needs to be “coddled” here to give him PAs but it won’t be at the expense of others if Charlie rests his old guys and uses his hot-hitting bench accordingly.

“Worth Noting”:

There are currently 12 pitchers and 13 hitters on the active roster. The current rotation includes Lee (still winless), Hamels (with a major-league-leading ten wins), Kendrick (the fill-in for Halladay), Worley, and Blanton. The bullpen includes righties Papelbon (who has not blown just blew his first save of the season; unusually, he can only be used in save situations), Qualls, and Schwimmer; and lefties Savery, Bastardo, Valdes, and Deikman. Savery, Schwimmer, and Valdes can play more than an inning at a time.

Today's game: Phillies (Hamels) vs. Rockies (Outman) at 7:05 PM

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Report on the Bullpen


Contreras (RHP): To undergo two surgeries and attempt a comeback. He is about 41 years old. The Phillies placed him on the DL retroative to his last appearance and transferred him to the 60-Day DL after the evaluations. He needs Tommy John Surgery and also needs to repair his flexor tendon (both in his throwing arm).

De Fratus (RHP): Started throwing three and a half weeks ago. Diagnosed with a right elbow sprain. He hasn't played all year.

Herndon & Stutes (RHPs): Progressing slowly. Both have inflation. Herndon has it in his right elbow and Stutes has it in his shoulder.

Roster Move

Before the second game against the Orioles, the Phillies sent lefty Raul Valdes to the Ironpigs and called up right-handed rookie B.J. Rosenberg, who immediately threw a perfect 11th inning before allowing a walk and a two-run home run to Adam Jones in the 12th inning in a 6-4 loss that day. The move was made so that there are more righties than lefties in the bullpen.

Potential Call-Up Candidates are lefty Raul Valdez and righty Phillippe Aumont.

Active Roster

Note: Long-man Kyle Kendrick is now taking Roy Halladay's (right lat. dorsi strain) place in the rotation until sometime after the All-Star Break.

Righties: Michael Schwimmer, B.J. Rosenberg, set-up man Chad Qualls and closer Jonathan Papelbon

Lefties: Jake Deikman, long-man Joe Savery, and set-up man Antonio Bastardo

State of the Bullpen - GRADE: C

Overall, the bullpen sucks with notable exceptions.

With the exception of game four against the Dodgers, Chad Qualls has not allowed any runs: he allowed four (three earned) in that game. He's pitched better and was excellent in April until his appearance on the 30th. From that game and through most of his appearances in May, he struggled - a 6.10 ERA in May. Let's hope Qualls can nail it down or he'll be out of a job. GRADE: D

B.J. Rosenberg pitched excellently in the first half of his debut but gave up the walk-off two-run HR to Adam Jones in the second half of his debut. GRADE: C+

Jake Deikman retired all batters faced in his debut and got the win as a result. He has a 1-0 record with a 4.88 ERA but get rid of his second appearance (in Chicago), he'd have a 1.00 ERA.GRADE: B+/A-

Antonio Bastardo struggled in the second half of April but has been very domainant this season except for June 1st against the Marlins. Yes, he regressed, but this is not too bad of a slump. GRADE: B-

Michael Schwimmer was sent down during the shake-up but has been better since returning. GRADE: C

Joe Savery has a 0 ERA in June but was very terrible in April and May. GRADE: C+

Papelbon is 15 for 15 in saves but has struggled in non-save opportunities. His great season is what's keeping me from giving the bullpen a D. As long as he either doesn't blow a save or blows a save but improves during non-save situations, I will keep him in the A-range. GRADE: A-

DL Guys did ok but not great - inconsistent is a good word to use. GRADE: C+/B-

It's up to Rich Dubee and Charlie Manuel to use the bullpen effectively: they've been better recently but terrible in April and May. While the last two extra-inning losses are tough I think we can turn it around. Injuries continue to mount - Contreras was just beginning to be effective when he went down. Hoping the next three weeks go better and that the 'pen dominates in the second half. Turn it around!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Injury updates - June 6th, 2012

RHS Roy Halladay (Grade 1/2 Lat Dorsi Strain): original diagnosis confirmed by Mets' team doctor after he received Halladay's past MRIs; due back in the fortnight following the All-Star Break.
2B-SS Freddy Galvis (back strain): sent to DL - JUST OCCURRED
PH-1B Jim Thome (back strain): activated from DL a few days ago; unable to play 1B but will DH in the next road trip to start on Friday
3B Placido Polanco (day-to-day with a cut on hand): unable to play for the next few days; DL stint not expected - JUST OCCURRED
IF Michael Martinez (foot): activated from DL; assigned to AAA
RHR Jose Contreras (UCL & flexor pronate tendon tears): no surgery scheduled; out for season & subsequently transferred to 60-Day DL
RHR Justin De Fratus (60 Day DL for an elbow sprain): throwing off of a mound at 75 feet
LF-1B Lanyce Nix (calf strain): heading to Clearwater to continue his current rehab program; playing in rehab games TBD
RHRs David Herndon (elbow inflammation) & Michael Stutes (shoulder inflammation): progressing VERY slowly.

2B Chase Utley and 1B Ryan Howard are about 30 days from returning to the lineup. Activation to play one or two games between June 30 and the All-Star Break (July 9-13) may not make sense but it may be necessary.

Can the Phillies' bad luck continue all season? I hope not but the list never ends!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30th Injury Report, Postseason Predictions


Staring Pitching:

Vance Worley (bone chip and inflammation in pitching elbow) is due back within a week. Both the Phillies medical staff and renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews confirmed the diagnosis about two weeks ago. Worley threw a bullpen session Tuesday: he was rusty but felt little to no discomfort (he might need a rehab start). He will play through the injury during the season and undergo off-season surgery to remove the bone chip. One or two cortisone shots during the season are not out of the question, but are highly unlikely. He has a 3-2 record, a 3.07 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP in seven starts (44 innings) this year.

Roy Halladay (grade 0.5 strain of the right lattismus dorsi muscle) was pulled after two innings on the 28th. His velocity has been down all season and he has had a rough month of May. It appears that this injury explains his un-Halladay-like start to 2012. The plan: three weeks of rest and a total DL time of 6-8 weeks (I estimate 5-7 weeks). Rehab starts are likely after a couple of bullpen sessions. It could have been worse: we could have been talking about a torn rotator cuff (likely out for season in that case). Halladay is 4-5 with an ERA close to 4.00 and a 1.15 WHIP in 11 starts (72 innings). In 14 seasons, he has compiled a 192-97 record, 3.25 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and throws an average of 7 innings per start and 6 CGs per year in 14 years in the majors.

HALLADAY UPDATE: He had a second opinion from the Mets' team doctor. Results expected by Friday.


Michael Stutes (right shoulder problems) is shut down until Monday the 4th. David Herndon (right elbow inflammation) received platelet-rich plasma therapy and will be reevaluated soon. Justin De Fratus (pitching elbow sprain) was transferred to the 60-Day DL about two weeks ago and started throwing on Friday.


Catcher Carlos Ruiz (hamstring issue) had an ultrasound, which gave no indication that a DL stint is required. He is available to bat but will be held out of the lineup for another day or two. Eric Kratz and Scooch are on the active roster, so we're well-covered in that dept. He is batting an astounding .366 and has hardly had a batting average below .280 this year.

CHOOCH UPDATE: He will be back in the line-up on Friday if all goes well. He hit a pinch-hit two-run homer against the Mets on Wednesday.

Utility man Michael Martinez (right foot fracture) is on the 60-day DL and is doing baseball activities down in Clearwater. He is likely to be assigned to AAA when activated since Galvis, Wigginton, Luna, and Fontenot are splitting Utility duties at the Major-League level and that Mini-Mart had a sub-.200 AVG last season as a Rule-5 Draft Pick.

First baseman/ Designated Hitter Jim Thome (back strain) is taking batting practice and is the DH in minor league games. He is due back around June 8th when the Phillies take on the Orioles in Baltimore. He is has three walks and is two-for-eighteen this year.

First baseman/ Left-Fielder Laynce Nix (hamstring) is walking but cannot run. No timetable for his return. He is batting .326 with eight extra-base hits (6 2B, 2 HR), five walks, 11 RBIs and seven runs scored.

NIX UPDATE: He jogged around the bases in NY on Wednesday.

First baseman Ryan Howard (recovery from Achillies surgery and infection) is getting in shape and doing some baseball activities in Clearwater. There is no timetable for his return, but a pre-All Star break return is not out of the question.

HOWARD UPDATE: A return before the All-Star Game is unlikely.

Second baseman Chase Utley (left knee issues) has been doing baseball activities with the team with tolerable pain. He does this every other day at most. There is not timetable for his return; however, a July return is the most likely scenario.


A run at the NL East title is not out of the question come August. If the Phillies are above .500 and the division is still this tight, there's a chance that the Phils could make a run with Utley and Howard. Not to mention that the replacements are doing very well and will all return in September to help out. With two wild card spots up for grabs, it is more likely that the Phillies will get back to the postseason through the new system rather than through the division crown. The Phillies haven't done well as division winners since 2009, so pulling a stunt like the 2011 Cardinals may be better for them in October. Regardless, I anticipate an 86-76 to a 91-71 record, postseason berth and participation in the NLDS through the NL East crown or a play-in victory. I predict that the Phillies will not win the World Series this year regardless but they have a better shot if they are the 3, 4 or 5 seed. The winners of the series: Tigers over Cardinals in six games.