Replacement for Halladay? It won't be Biddle

Biddle_Warmup.jpg

Replacement for Halladay? It won't be Biddle

SAN FRANCISCO -- Roy Halladay will have his sore right shoulder examined in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said Monday night.

So who will fill Halladay’s spot in the rotation Friday in Phoenix?

Tyler Cloyd and Adam Morgan are possibilities (see story), according to Amaro. Jesse Biddle is not.

"He's a very young kid and he's not ready for the big leagues -- period," Amaro said.

Biddle-mania raged when the 21-year-old lefty pitched 13 scoreless innings with 26 strikeouts in a pair of starts April 22 and April 28.

On Saturday, Biddle returned to Earth –- he didn’t make it out of the first inning while walking four.

"Growing pains," Amaro said.

Amaro said Biddle had some allergy problems in that game, but the bottom line is he’s still a developing pitcher and not ready for the majors. The team’s top pick in the 2010 draft has made just six starts at Double A. He is 2-2 with a 2.56 ERA in those starts.

Cloyd, who turns 26 next week, has some big-league experience. He made six starts with the club last season and went 2-2 with 4.91 ERA. He is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts at Triple A this season, but his last start was strong as he pitched eight innings, allowed four hits, one run, no walks and struck out 10.

Morgan, 23, was the Phils’ third-round pick out of the University of Alabama in 2011. The left-hander is considered the Phils’ most advanced pitching prospect because of his command of a four-pitch arsenal, but is short on experience as just six of his 43 pro starts have come above the Double A level.

While Amaro acknowledged that Friday’s starter will come from within the system, he said he was looking outside the organization for more starting pitching depth.

"There are some guys out there with outs [in their contracts], some players we'll keep an eye out on," Amaro said. "But right now, at least for the short term, it's going to be somebody internal."

Amaro said he had no gut feeling on how Halladay’s examination would go Tuesday. The veteran right-hander has struggled with velocity and command issues since spring training. He admitted to feeling soreness in his shoulder after being tagged for nine runs in 2 1/3 innings Sunday.

"Hopefully it's something minor," Amaro said. "Hopefully it's nothing major. We'll wait to see what the testing says and go from there."

On Sunday, Halladay revealed that he first felt soreness the day after his April 24 start. Halladay made two starts after that and was hammered in both.

Manager Charlie Manuel was asked if he would have preferred Halladay speaking up earlier.

"I’ve been around the game a long time," Manuel said. "I never liked to tell anyone I couldn’t play. If you asked me if I could play, I would have never told you I couldn’t. I played with a broken arm. I played with a whole lot of things. I got hit in the face and my lip was over my eye and I missed one day. I would never tell you I couldn’t play. So, yeah, I could understand that. He felt he could go out there and still pitch. He wasn’t thinking about not pitching bad or something like that; he wanted to try.

"Roy is an upstanding guy, a straight guy. Hey, there should be more guys like that. You say, ‘Well, he’s hurt.’ But evidently he didn’t feel that way. He felt like he could play. Nowadays guys -- they get out of the game real easy. That means he has some integrity, that the game means something to him, that he wanted to see if he could help us. It wasn’t like he was trying to hurt us. Knowing him like I do, he thought he could pitch."

Best of MLB: Royals storm back in 9th inning for win over Blue Jays

Best of MLB: Royals storm back in 9th inning for win over Blue Jays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Whit Merrifield hit a two-run, two-out double that capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Friday night to reach .500 for the first time since April.

With their 10th win in 12 games, the Royals improved to 36-36. They were 6-6 before play on April 20, then went on a nine-game losing streak that night and dropped as low as 10-20, seven games out of first place. They trail AL Central-leading Cleveland by three games.

Toronto took a 2-1 lead into the ninth and extended it when Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak hit RBI singles off Joakim Soria (4-2) (see full recap).

Dodgers cruise past Rockies for 8th straight win
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig homered and left-hander Alex Wood kept his record perfect as the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the NL West rival Colorado Rockies 6-1 on Friday night for their eighth consecutive victory.

The Dodgers have won 14 of their last 15 games. They have scored at least six runs in seven consecutive games.

Wood (8-0) allowed one run in six innings. He gave up only three hits and walked two, retiring his last 10 batters.

The Dodgers have homered in 15 consecutive games, tied for fourth-longest streak in club history. The last time they managed it was in 1977. Their record is 24 consecutive games with a home run.

Rookie left-hander Kyle Freeman (8-4) allowed five runs and a career-high 10 hits and three walks in six innings (see full recap).

Torreyes hits walk-off single to lift Yanks over Rangers
NEW YORK -- Ronald Torreyes hit a game-winning single with two outs in the 10th inning after midnight, and the New York Yankees edged the Texas Rangers 2-1 on a rainy Friday night for just their second win in 10 games.

Brett Gardner lined a tying home run with one out in the New York ninth off closer Matt Bush. After Chasen Shreve (2-1) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 10th, Torreyes kept the Yankees atop the AL East.

Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka kept it scoreless into the late innings in the first major league meeting between the Japanese stars (see full recap).

Mark Leiter Jr. picks up 1st big-league win as Phillies cool off Diamondbacks

Mark Leiter Jr. picks up 1st big-league win as Phillies cool off Diamondbacks

BOX SCORE

PHOENIX -- The clubhouse was beginning to clear and still the star of the game had not yet emerged from the shower.

"He's in there cleaning the guacamole and mayo out of his hair," Cameron Rupp said with a laugh.

Eventually Mark Leiter Jr. made it out of the shower and over to his locker where equipment man Phil Sheridan presented him with three game balls, souvenirs from not only his first big-league start but his first big-league win, as well.

"It's something I'll never forget," the 26-year-old right-hander from Toms River, N.J., said pitching six shutout innings to backbone the Phillies' 6-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Friday night (see Instant Replay).

"I’ll be honest, I was probably more excited for this than I was for my major-league debut. To go out there and contribute to a win is what I was hoping to do."

Leiter, a 22nd-round draft pick by the Phillies in 2013, had never made it onto the 40-man roster until the Phils needed a reliever in mid-April and gave him a shot after he'd gotten off to a good start at Triple A. He spent six weeks in the majors and made 12 relief appearances before being sent back to Triple A the first weekend of June.

Leiter worked as a starter during his time back at Triple A. He pitched six shutout innings against Syracuse in his last start and got the call to come back up when Jerad Eickhoff went on the disabled list with a back strain earlier this week.

Leiter's return assignment was not easy: The Diamondbacks are one of the best hitting clubs in the majors and the best on their home turf. They entered the game scoring 6.48 runs per game at home and with an .886 OPS, both major-league bests.

None of that fazed Leiter.

"In my opinion, this is the big leagues and it doesn’t matter who the lineup is," he said. "They all have the ability to hit and hit well. They’re all big-leaguers and they've earned their right to be big-leaguers. I was just trying to pitch to the team you're facing that day."

Leiter trusted his low-90s fastball and commanded it well. He mixed in his secondary stuff and kept the D-backs off-balance with his splitter. He scattered three hits, walked one and struck out five. He showed no fear.

"Great performance," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He made it look easy. He made a lot of good hitters look bad with his split. For him to come up and do that to a real good hitting team was outstanding."

Leiter's dad, Mark Sr., pitched for the Phillies in 1997 and 1998. He made the trip in from New Jersey to watch his son's first big-league start.

"I guess they found him on TV," Leiter said. "That's what they were telling me. I'm sure he wasn't too pleased they found him because he was probably stressed out. But I think it was probably worth him coming out here. He's probably happy."

How could he not be?

Leiter's teammates were definitely happy.

They treated Leiter to a raucous postgame dousing that included as many different condiments as could be found in the clubhouse dining room. One laughing player had a bottle of ketchup in his hands. Another had a squeeze bottle of honey.

And then there was the guacamole and mayo that Rupp mentioned.

"In his first major-league start, to come up here and do that in what is known as a good hitters’ park - that proves Mark is pretty strong between the ears," Tommy Joseph said. "He's been one of those under-the-radar guys that people have doubted, but his mentality and ability to prepare are second to none."

Joseph played a big role in the win, smacking a two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Phillies some breathing room. Maikel Franco also had a big home run and Freddy Galvis contributed an important triple that led to a Phillies' run in the first inning.

The Phils still have the worst record in the majors at 24-48, but they've won two in a row, both on the back of good starting pitching performances. Aaron Nola pitched 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball on Thursday.

And Leiter delivered on Friday.

"It's good to see those back-to-back," Mackanin said.