Phillies starter John Lannan will likely miss six to eight weeks with a quad strain near his knee, manager Charlie Manuel said Thursday night before the Phillies-Cards game.
Lannan said he’s dealt with tendinitis in that area for some time but said he hurt the area more seriously during his start Wednesday night in Cincinnati.
General Manager Ruben Amaro said four pitchers at Triple-AAA Lehigh Valley -- Tyler Cloyd, Jon Pettibone, Adam Morgan and Ethan Martin -- are the top candidates to replace Lannan in the rotation.
“It’ll be probably one of those guys,” Amaro said.
Amaro also mentioned Cesar Jimenez, Joe Savery and Justin DeFratus, who are also at Lehigh Valley, as possible replacements for Lannan. (UPDATE: Savery has been called up.)
Lannan’s next start is scheduled for Monday night at Citizens Bank Park vs. the Pirates.
Lannan, who pitched well in his first two starts with the Phils, lasted just 1 2/3 innings Wednesday night in Cincinnati, allowing eight hits and six earned runs in an 11-2 loss.
“The knee itself is fine,” Lannan said. “It’s just the tendon going into the knee.”
The Phillies placed Lannan on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, but it looks like he’ll likely be out well into June.
“It’s a fairly serious injury,” Amaro said. “We’ll try to rehab him and get him back as soon as possible. We just don’t want to risk any further injury. One of the things we want to be cautiouis about is … having it rupture. That could be a real long-term issue, and we want to stay away from that.”
Lannan, 28, spent his first six major-league seasons with the Nationals and never had a serious injury.
“It’s my first time on the disabled list, so this is all new territory for me,” he said. “I just need to get right, just get healthy, and try to get back as soon as I can.
Lannan said he felt some discomfort in the area near his knee during his previous start, last Friday in Miami, but he said that’s something he’s dealt with throughout his career, and it’s never hindered him enough to keep him off the mound.
But what he felt Wednesday night was worse.
“Going into it, I thought it was just going to be regular tendinitis that I’ve had in the past,” he said. “But they told me it’s a pretty severe strain of the quad tendon in the knee. I’m going to rest it and see how I feel in the next couple days, weeks. Right now I wouldn’t be able to field my position or throw.
“It’s never been a problem. It’s kind of shocking to me that it took that next step.”
As for Lannan’s replacement, Morgan, a 23-year-old lefty, has the best stats with the Iron Pigs at 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts, including a five-inning, one-run stint at Pawtucket Thursday. He’s walked five, struck out 13 and allowed only 11 hits in 19 innings. But because he pitched Thursday, he wouldn’t be available Monday.
Amaro ruled out Jesse Biddle, the Philly native who is 1-1 with a 3.00 at Double-A Reading and is considered the top prospect in the franchise.
Amaro said the Phillies will likely bring up a reliever on Friday and then a starter on Monday.
“We're trying to assess who we're going to bring for the first [start] and then kind of go from there,” he said. “See how that person performs, and if that person performs well then we'll stay with them. A lot of it depends on how that guy throws and we'll kind of take it one day at a time on that.”
Manuel said stats at Triple-A aren’t as big a deal in determining who to bring up as you might think.
“I remember a few years ago when we brought [Kyle] Kendrick up, and he had a high ERA in Double-A and he came to the big leagues and he pitched good,” Manuel said.
“We kept him around and he pitched another game. Finally the season was ending and he was still pitching. That’s kind of what happened if you remember. And mostly he’s been here ever since.”
The news was much better on outfielder Domonic Brown, who left the game Wednesday night with back spasms.
“It felt like a crack,” Brown said Thursday,. “I felt it right away.”
An X-ray revealed nothing out of the ordinary, and an MRI wasn’t even taken because Brown’s symptoms had gone away by Thursday.
“A couple days off and hopefully, I’m back in there tomorrow,” said Brown after meeting with noted back specialist Dr. Michael Ciccotti of the Rothman Institute. “I went in there today and it felt pretty good. I feel like I’m ready to go.”
Brown said Cicotti said he could play tonight, but Manuel has infielder Freddy Galvis starting in left field.
Manuel said Brown probably won’t be available even to pinch-hit Thursday in the opener of the eight-game homestand.
“Trainer said he’s kind of OK, but at the same time, I don’t want to put him out there and then have to take him out again,” Manuel said. “It’s too early. Last night he came to me and told me that he couldn’t go. [I thought] maybe I should be a little bit cautious on him.”