Charlie Manuel: Roy Halladay Is “Coming Along Real Good”

Charlie Manuel: Roy Halladay Is “Coming Along Real Good”

The Phillies are creating a bit of buzz once again with their latest stretch of good baseball, taking two of three from a pair of first-place teams, and the first two so far in a four-game series with the Washington Nationals. We’re still skeptical about a potential playoff run as we’ve seen this team go on stretches like the current one earlier this season, always setting up for a corresponding letdown later.

We can plainly see some of their weaknesses as well, one of which might be in the back end of their starting rotation. Jonathan Pettibone and John Lannan are okay, but don’t go deep into many games – a problem considering the bullpen – and Kyle Kendrick has come back down to earth a bit since getting off to a hot start.

At least they might have some help on the way in the form of Roy Halladay. Charlie Manuel went on 94 WIP with Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow on Wednesday to discuss a wide scope of topics. Perhaps the most exciting tidbit from the 40-minute interview was the skipper’s update on Doc, who is throwing and, well… we’ll let Cholly take it from here.

"Hallady's coming along real good… I’ve been watching him throw in the outfield with Dubee, and he’s got a good chance he’s going to pitch for us before the season is over I predict."

Coming along real good. Has a chance to pitch before the end of the season. Both of those statements are very encouraging. Granted, even if Halladay does come back, we have no way of knowing which Halladay the Phillies are getting. Is it the two-time Cy Young Award winner, or the guy who surrendered nine runs over 2.1 innings against the lowly Miami Marlins?

As we said at the start of the season however, Doc doesn’t necessarily have to be the dominant eight-time All Star to be effective for the Fightins. If he can come back and pitch even as well as Kendrick has this year, he could provide a huge boost for that staff, almost like acquiring another arm at the trade deadline.

And hey, we can hope for more. I’m not sure how many people envisioned Chase Utley coming back and having the kind of season he has enjoyed in 2013, but he appears to have turned the clock back by about three years. Maybe surgery was the answer for Halladay.

The Phillies still have a lot of work to do before Halladay can come back and pitch in the thick of a playoff race. Frankly it may not matter who comes back, or who gets hot if the bullpen remains an utter mess. That said, even if the Phils aren’t going anywhere, I’d still like to see Doc come back and go out on a high note in case the organization doesn’t have plans to re-sign him.

Admit it, you would hate for your last memory of Roy in red pinstripes to be a nine-run drubbing at the hands of the club he once tossed a perfect game against.

>> Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel Joins Anthony and Glen [94 WIP]

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard batting cleanup, Cameron Rupp catching

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard batting cleanup, Cameron Rupp catching

Following a day off, the Phillies continue their roadtrip with the start of a three-game set with the New York Mets.

Ryan Howard will bat in the heart of the Phillies order with Cameron Rupp at catcher following the trade of Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers. Meanwhile, the rest of the lineup remains mostly the same as it was prior to a brief two-game series with American League rules.

With Ruiz's trade, Howard is the last remaining member of the Phillies' 2008 World Series team. He'll try to throw back to that time against the ageless Bartolo Colon. 

Howard has good power numbers against Colon. He has just six hits in 28 at-bats, but has drawn three walks and has three home runs against the 43-year-old starter. There are only 18 pitchers he has faced more often than Colon.

At catcher, Rupp had already inherited the starting job from Ruiz, but he is now the backstop with more experience in Philadelphia. The Phillies called up prospect Jorge Alfaro for now, but he will likely remain on the bench and be sent down when A.J. Ellis reports this weekend. 

Rupp has five hits in 14 at-bats against Colon. He has faced only the Braves' Julio Teheran more times than Colon in his four-year career. The five hits are tied for his most against any one pitcher (Teheran).

Here's the full lineup that will oppose Colon and the Mets. 

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Aaron Altherr, LF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Peter Bourjos, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Awwwwe: Chooch leaves his Phillies teammates a love note on clubhouse white board

Awwwwe: Chooch leaves his Phillies teammates a love note on clubhouse white board

As if you didn't think you could love Carlos Ruiz any more...

Chooch was traded on Thursday afternoon and he's since departed for the potentially playoff-bound pastures with his new-again teammate Chase Utley and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But not before he left his Phillies teammates a loving note written on the white board in the clubhouse at CitiField where the Phils play the Mets this evening.

Courtesy of CSNPhilly.com's Phillies beat reporter Jim Salisbury:

It reads:

"I will miss all of you guys. Good luck the rest of the season. Love you all, Chooch! (Gracias)"

Awwwwwwwwe.

Gestures like the above help explain why guys like Roy Halladay call Chooch their favorite baseball player ever.

NHL Notes: Brandon Pirri, Rangers agree to terms on one-year deal

NHL Notes: Brandon Pirri, Rangers agree to terms on one-year deal

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with forward Brandon Pirri on a $1.1 million, one-year deal.

The 25-year-old Pirri spent last season with the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, recording 14 goals and 15 assists in 61 games. His 29 points were a career high.

A second-round pick, 59th overall, in the 2009 draft, Pirri has been traded twice and was considered a potential bargain in NHL free agency. Pirri is something of a shootout specialist, scoring on five of his six attempts last season, and that 83.3 percent success rate ranked first among players with at least five attempts.

In 166 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Panthers and Ducks, Pirri has 49 goals and 31 assists for 90 points.

Enroth replaces injured Lerner for Sweden at World Cup
NEW YORK -- With goaltender Robin Lehner still not fully healthy, Sweden replaced him on its World Cup of Hockey roster with Jhonas Enroth.

The Buffalo Sabres' starting goalie was bothered by a right ankle injury for much of last season that limited him to 21 NHL games. Lehner underwent surgery in March and had been working to get ready for the World Cup, which begins Sept. 17 in Toronto.

"We really wanted to give Robin the opportunity to recover from his injury from last year, but unfortunately it wasn't enough time for him to feel 100 percent recovered," coach Rikard Gronborg said in a statement released by the Swedish Ice Hockey Association.

Concussion problems held Lehner to 23 games in 2014-15, and he looked to be over those after the Ottawa Senators traded him to Buffalo at the 2015 draft. The 25-year-old injured his ankle early in the season opener and aggravated it in March.

It was not immediately clear when the Sabres expect Lehner to be back to 100 percent.

"As Robin continues to progress during the offseason in his rehab from last season's ankle injury, he felt that it was best to withdraw from Team Sweden for the upcoming World Cup," Buffalo general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. "Robin felt it was important to continue his rehab in Buffalo to prepare for training camp. He has been working out both on and off the ice and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with our team next month."

Enroth, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Kings, recently signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He joins Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks as the goalies on Sweden's roster.

The 28-year-old has a 2.80 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 147 career NHL games. Enroth was on the Swedish team that earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, though he never appeared in a game. He started for Sweden at the 2013 and 2015 world hockey championships, winning gold in 2013 with a 1.15 GAA and .956 save percentage (see full story).