Charlie Manuel typically doesnt need a lot of time in order to put together his starting lineups from day to day. Every so often the order might change or a guy might need a day off here and there, but for the most part, there are few surprises in what Manuel sends out there.
However, for Thursday nights series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Bank, Manuel didnt have his usual stable of all-stars to call upon.
Firstly, centerfielder Shane Victorino was ordered to begin his suspension for his role in the bench-clearing incident in San Francisco on Aug. 5. Though three other players were fined for the incident, Victorino was originally suspended for three games. However, after talking to Joe Torre, Major League Baseballs Director of Operations, on the phone on Wednesday, Victorinos fine was reduced to two games.
As a result, Victorino will sit out of the game on Thursday night as well as the series opener in Washington on Friday night.
Victorino chose not to speak about his suspension, while general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the issue is something for the players union and Major League Baseball to hash out and that the team was not involved.
With Victorino out, Manuel put John Mayberry in center field. Mayberry went 3 for 4 as the leftfielder in Wednesday nights game and has quietly been garnering more starts against left-handed pitchers.
Meanwhile, Manuel gave catcher Carlos Ruiz the night off for the second game in a row after he suffered a left testicular contusion in Tuesday nights game thanks to a foul tip in the sixth inning. Additionally, Ryan Howard sat out of Thursday nights game with a bruised hand he got while swinging at a pitch during the sixth inning of Wednesday nights game.
Manuel says both Ruiz and Howard are available if needed.
I have Howard to hit if we need him in a big moment in the game, Manuel said, noting that the team physician examined Howard and said he is OK.
In the interim, catcher Brian Schneider will get a second straight start behind the plate. The Phillies are 22-3 in games Schneider starts, while Thursday nights starter, Vance Worley, has thrown to the backup almost exclusively. Schneider has worked the plate in 11 of Worleys 16 games where the pair has held the opposition to a .186 batting average. So with Worley going, its no surprise that Schneider got the call.
Ross Gload, on the other hand, has not started a game since July 2 and has played in the field just four times this year. Hampered with a torn labrum in his hip, Gload has been used almost entirely as a pinch hitter. In fact, 60 of his 67 appearances this season have come as a pinch hitter with another as a designated hitter.
He has some limitations, but he can play, Amaro said about Gload. We talked to him a little about it yesterday and he feels comfortable enough to play first base. It will be good to get him a chance to get some ABs.
Gload leads the majors with 14 pinch hits.
Additionally, injured Placido Polanco is making progress in his return from a sports hernia. Polanco is eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 22, but Amaro did not say whether or not the all-star third baseman would play as soon as he is eligible.
We want him to come back when hes feeling as comfortable as possible, Amaro said.
No new moves coming
Because the Phillies have the best record in baseball, waiver claims or post-deadline trades are that much more difficult for the Phillies. However, Amaro says there has not been an inordinate amount of claims put in on players to block the Phillies from getting them.
Normal blocking, Amaro said. Nothing different.
Its kind of the same every year. Each team is going to protect its own interests. That makes sense, but this year isnt any different than any other year.
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