The Phillies will likely have an extra right-handed reliever in their bullpen this week.
Because of two scheduled off days this week, the Phillies can go with just four starting pitchers until Monday. That means the team can use Roberto Hernandez as a reliever for several days before his turn to start would come up again on Tuesday. Hernandez last pitched on Friday in Arizona.
Manager Ryne Sandberg said it was likely that Hernandez would temporarily be used as a reliever, but the plan had not been finalized.
“He’s done it before,” Sandberg said. “He knows the routine of pitching an inning or two. It could be good for us the next few days.”
Right-handed relief has been a problem for the Phillies this season. The team has already sent three right-handers -- Brad Lincoln, B.J. Rosenberg and Justin De Fratus -- to the minors. The bullpen currently features right-handers Jeff Manship, Shawn Camp, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon. Jake Diekman, Antonio Bastardo and Mario Hollands are the lefties.
Twenty-five games into the season, the Phillies’ bullpen ranks last in the National League (28th in the majors) with an ERA of 5.14. However, the bullpen recorded four scoreless innings in winning Saturday and Sunday in Arizona.
As mentioned, the Phillies have two scheduled off days this week. They had one Monday. The other is Thursday. Of course, weather could result in more free time for the Phillies as the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday is not good. As of 5 p.m., Tuesday night’s game against the Mets was still a go. Check back for updates.