Phils GM Amaro seeks to survive with young ‘pen


Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Posted: 12:17 p.m.Updated: 6:55 p.m.By Jim Salisbury

Five of the seven relief pitchers that the Phillies had in their bullpen for Tuesday nights series opener against the Boston Red Sox had spent time in Triple A this season.

Closer Ryan Madson went on the disabled list with swelling in his pitching hand Tuesday afternoon. That forced the recall of Andrew Carpenter from Triple A. Carpenter had made the switch from starter to reliever earlier this season and was 5-0 with a 1.58 ERA in 24 games.

With Madson on the DL, manager Charlie Manuel said he would use either Antonio Bastardo or rookie Mike Stutes as the closer. Bastardo, a lefty, could get the first call, but Manuel said he reserved the right to use the right-hander Stutes if matchups called for it.

Madsons assignment to the disabled list was backdated to June 19. He will be eligible to return on Monday.

Were not sure if it will be longer, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. We have to calm it down. Hell pitch when hes ready to pitch.

The genesis of Madsons injury dates back more than a month, to May 20, when he was struck on the palm of his right hand by a shot back to the mound. Madson did not experience any significant problems after the incident. In fact, he pitched the next day and made 12 other relief appearanceshe converted seven of eight save opportunities but had a 4.15 ERA in that spanbefore needing to take some time off after inflammation that had lodged near the knuckle of his ring finger caused him to have difficulty feeling his pitches. Madson had an injection of anti-inflammatory medicine on Friday, but was placed on the DL Tuesday when the swelling persisted.

Hes still feeling some numbness and some pain or a combination of both, so we figured we wouldnt mess with it, Amaro said. The shot worked, but not enough. Its kind of a strange injury. Well deal with it.

Amaro was asked if Madson suffered any kind of setback or other injury to his hand between the time he was hit and the time he went on the DL.

No, Amaro said.

Madson was not available during the time the clubhouse was open to reporters before Tuesday nights game. A club spokesman said the pitcher was receiving treatment. Madson was not on the field during batting practice.

Madson has converted 15 of 16 saves chances this season. Losing him is a blow to a Phillies bullpen that has been without Brad Lidge all season and has had to deal with Jose Contreras requiring two trips to the DL with a sore elbow. Actually, its a blow to the entire pitching staff, which is dealing with the losses of starters Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton. Lidge has been throwing in the bullpen, but is probably a month awayif all goes well. He has had shoulder and elbow problems. Contreras is feeling better, according to Amaro, but theres no timetable for his return. The Phillies are carrying relievers Carpenter, Stutes, David Herndon, Scott Mathieson and Juan Perez, all of whom have spent time in Triple A this season. Bastardo and Danys Baez are the only two relievers not to have spent time in Triple A this season.

Well have to get by with what we have, Amaro said.

Baseball sources say Amaro has been trying to bolster his lineup with the addition of a right-handed hitter. If Madson doesnt improve quickly, he may have to pursue bullpen help.

To me its always about pitching, Amaro said. Everyone wants to talk about our offense, but pitching wins championships. If were able to do some things in that area that would be great, but were hopeful we can get Contreras and Lidge back at some point.

Amaro is on record as saying he does not expect to make a major trade acquisition. The Phils payroll is up to 175 millionsecond largest in baseballand the team is just 3 million shy of the luxury-tax threshold. The Phils would pay 22.5 percent for every dollar over 178 million.

As for Oswalt, who is suffering from a bulging disc in his lower back, Amaro has not ruled out having him back sometime in July.

Were more optimistic than some of the media reports Ive seen, Amaro said. We think he could be back before August. A lot depends on how he feels.

Oswalt is scheduled to get a second opinion on his back later this week.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at Follow him on Twitter @JSalisburyCSN.

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