Sunday, April 24, 2011
Posted: 6:43 p.m. Updated: 10:02 p.m.
By Jim SalisburyCSNPhilly.com
SAN DIEGO Now its on to Closer No. 3.
Jose Contreras, who opened the season as Phillies' closer when Brad Lidge suffered a shoulder injury in spring training, was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a strained flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow.
Spring-training standout Mike Stutes has been recalled from Triple A and will be with the Phillies in Arizona on Monday.
Ryan Madson will handle the bulk of the closer duties, with Antonio Bastardo lending a hand when hes not picking up the eighth inning. Bastardo closed out Roy Halladays win Sunday because Madson needed a day off to rest his arm, which has been tired and sore lately.
Madson said the condition was nothing to be alarmed about.
Normal, he said. N-o-r-m-a-l. Its just some soreness and fatigue that comes from pitching.
Asked what part of his arm was sore, Madson said: All of it. When its in one spot, you worry.
Madson has carried a heavy load in the early season. Saturday was the sixth time in nine days that he had pitched. He threw 96 pitches in that span.
Madson mentioned that occasionally he will push for a day off so he can remain effective for the whole season. Its a long season and this Phillies campaign will not be a success without a trip deep into October.
I think hes OK, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of Madson. Its nothing to be concerned about. We just want to make sure that these guys its a long haul. We want to be careful with them. We dont want to use him too much, but at the same time were trying to win baseball games. Charlie Manuel is going to have to continue to use these guys. Fortunately our starting pitching has done a good job, but wed like to have our offense maybe stretch things out a little bit to maybe give us more space.
Offense has been a major issue. The Phils have hit .207 in their last 13 games. Theyve won nine of them, mostly on the backs of their starting pitchers.
Madson, arguably the best eighth-inning man in baseball, has struggled when asked to close in his career. Entering this season, he had blown seven of the 26 save chances that hed had in the ninth inning or later. In spring training, Madson talked about how eager he was to get the chance to show that he could succeed in the role. He was bypassed for the job, however, when Manuel decided to go with Contreras. Madson successfully closed out wins on Friday and Saturday night as Contreras was sidelined.
I just want to go play, just go play the games and win, Madson said after Contreras went on the DL Sunday. We don't need labels. A couple years ago when we won the World Series we were talking about how nobody needed to know when they were pitching and nobody cared. We don't want labels now, anymore. Just go pitch. Get people out. Rely on anybody to get people out.
Like Madson, Contreras, 39, carried a heavy load recently, throwing 81 pitches in five appearances over seven days.
He had some soreness after he pitched on Thursday, Amaro said Sunday. He had been pitching quite a bit. He did a little better yesterday, and then today he felt some more soreness.
Contreras will return to Philadelphia for an MRI. It is not known how long he will be out.
Yeah, Im alarmed, Amaro said. Anytime a guy goes on the DL it bothers me. Hopefully it isnt serious. I have no idea until our doctors see him. Hopefully well have good news.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at firstname.lastname@example.org
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