Today in Philly Sports History: Brett Myers, 8 IP, 2 H, 1R in Phillies Debut

Today in Philly Sports History: Brett Myers, 8 IP, 2 H, 1R in Phillies Debut

We've already covered some of the bad with Brett Myers in this column, but there's been a decent amount of good as well. Indeed, Brett showed quality from the very start, as he took the hill on July 24, 2002 against the Cubs in his first-ever major league performance. At the time, the Phillies rotation had a decent top two of Randy Wolf and Vicente Padilla (the latter of which even named to the All-Star Team), but the rest of the team's starts fell to replacement-level nobodies like Brandon Duckworth, Robert Person, Terry Adams and Joe Roa. Myers, the Phillies' #12 pick from the 1999 draft, was called on for help, and he was brilliant in his debut, fanning five, walking just one, and only making one big mistake, with a third inning home run let up to leadoff man Mark Bellhorn. The Phillies would win 4-2.

"I can't say enough about what the kid did,'' said manager Larry Bowa. "He lived up to his reputation." Brett especially impressed his receiver, Mike Lieberthal. ""He really knows how to pitch," said Lieberthal. "He didn't seemed dazed at all." But Bowa forewarned that good times would not always be so good for the young righty: "He's going to take some lumps. Don't let anyone think this is going to be a smooth ride. He's going to go through some growing pains." Sure enough, in his very next start, Brett would give up six runs in only three innings against the eventual NL champion San Francisco Giants--with a lineup missing all-time slugger Barry Bonds, no less. Brett's starts would fluctuate between the sublime (a one-run complete game victory against the Brewers) and the less so (six runs in five and two-thirds against the Mets) for the rest of the season, and his stats rounded out to a respectable 4-5 with a 4.25 ERA at season's end. 

Such bouts of brilliance intertwined with stretches of inadequacy continue to define the confounding career of Brett Myers, as even last year he spent month-long periods as the team's ace after being so abhorrent earlier in the season that he was sent back to the minors. All we can ask from our now longest-tenured starter is that at the end of the day, the good outnumbers the bad. And on that day sevevn years ago, at least, he was 1-0.

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Aaron Altherr, activated by the Phillies Thursday afternoon, bats fifth and plays right field in his season debut in Atlanta. 

Sometimes one hitter can make a lineup look much different. Altherr's presence in the middle of the Phillies order provides them with three power hitters, something they've seldom had this season. He provides some protection out of the five-hole for Tommy Joseph and Maikel Franco, who precede him.

Cesar Hernandez remains in the leadoff spot for the Phillies after going 3 for 4 with a walk Wednesday to raise his batting average to .290. 

Cody Asche may soon lose playing time as the Phils' outfield picture gets more crowded, but for now his lineup spot appears safe. With Peter Bourjos on the DL, Asche gets the start in left field and bats eighth.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Carlos Ruiz, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Cody Asche, LF
9. Aaron Nola, P

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

The player who was projected to be the Phillies' opening day rightfielder and No. 5 hitter is finally ready to play. The Phils on Thursday reinstated outfielder Aaron Altherr from the disabled list after he missed the season's first 103 games with a wrist injury.

Altherr takes the 25-man roster spot of Peter Bourjos, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder sprain.

Altherr, 25, impressed with power late last season, hitting .241/.338/.489 for the Phillies with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 22 RBIs in 161 plate appearances. 

He tore a tendon sheath in his wrist on a diving catch attempt early in spring training, had surgery and missed about four months in total. The Phils were patient with Altherr during his rehab assignment, giving him the full 20 days before making the decision to add him to the active roster. In 13 games at four different levels during the rehab stint, Altherr went 14 for 41 (.341) with two doubles, a homer and seven walks.

Bourjos injured his shoulder running into the wall at Marlins Park earlier this week. The injury will keep him from being traded ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline, but Bourjos could be moved in August. He hit .410 in June but was slumping before the injury, hitting .148 over his last 14 games.

Marlins reinstate 2B Dee Gordon after 80-game drug ban

Marlins reinstate 2B Dee Gordon after 80-game drug ban

MIAMI — Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon issued an apology on Twitter addressed primarily to his young fans as he returned from an 80-game suspension for a positive drug test.

"I know I let you down, and I'm sorry," Gordon said in a video. "Complacency led me to this, and I'm hurt. I urge you guys to be more responsible than I am about what goes into your body. I wouldn't wish this on anyone."

Gordon, who won the NL batting and stolen base titles last year, was reinstated before Thursday's game against St. Louis.

Gordon tested positive for two performance-enhancing substances and was suspended in late April. Gordon acknowledged in April that he unknowingly took the banned substances.

Marlins president David Samson said then that the second baseman had betrayed the team and its fans. On Wednesday, Samson said the Marlins are glad to have Gordon back.

"I believe that America and our fans and our players and us, we're a pretty forgiving society," Samson said. "It's important Dee ask for that forgiveness, and he has, and he'll receive that. He's got to continue to work to get himself back in with his teammates and the fans and my son."

In his video, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Gordon said he learned from his mistake.

"I thought being the smallest guy I would never fail a drug test," he said. "I didn't pay attention at all and I didn't meet the standards. That's my fault and no one else's. But don't give up on me."

To make room on the roster for Gordon, the Marlins designated for assignment infielder Don Kelly, who had two triples in Sunday's victory. Even without Gordon, the Marlins have remained in contention for their first playoff berth since 2003.

Last year Gordon batted .333, stole 58 bases, became an All-Star for the second time and won his first Gold Glove. The season earned him a $50 million, five-year contract in January.