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.