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Notes: Bowa ready for changes
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07/03/2004 9:40 PM ET
Notes: Bowa ready for changes
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Larry Bowa has never been afraid to take a chance, and on Saturday, it paid off for the Phils. (Rusty Kennedy/AP)
PHILADELPHIA -- When a team leaves Spring Training each year, its manager mentally files two general lists, one of worries and one of things about which to be confident.

The five starting pitchers were on Bowa's confidence list. After a miserable June, he's ready to make some revisions.

"The best laid plans don't always work out," he said.

The plan started out so well in April, as the starters compiled a 3.33 ERA. In May, there was a slight increase to 3.86, but nothing alarming.

The five-alarm blaze sounded in June, when the Phillies compiled a 5.84 ERA for the month. Some lowlights include:

Kevin Millwood -- 2-2, 5.00
Eric Milton -- 4-1, 5.73
Brett Myers -- 2-2, 6.00
Paul Abbott -- 0-2, 5.03 with the Phillies; it becomes 0-3, 6.46 if one start with Tampa Bay is included.

Southpaw Randy Wolf is the notable exception, with a 2.31 mark, though he's only pitched twice this month because of injury. Vicente Padilla hasn't pitched at all.

Including the starting efforts of Brian Powell and Ryan Madson, the Phillies starters have averaged 5 1/2 innings a start, and it's no secret that's taxing the bullpen as well, which has a 12-13 record and a 3.91 ERA.

The Phillies pitching staff ranks 10th in the National League overall.

"No question, you'd need guys to go deeper in games," said Bowa. "I'd love to see (the starters) get more innings."

Brett Myers didn't even the average in his previous start against the Orioles. Lost in the 16-inning contest was the fact that he only pitched three innings.

"You have to mix 'em up," said Bowa. "His stuff is too good to have an ERA where it is (5.28).

Padilla worries: Padilla is scheduled to play catch on Sunday. That's news, considering it could help put a timetable on the right-hander's return to the rotation.

Already not expected to see active duty until early August, should Padilla experience pain or discomfort during the session, it could potentially mean that he'd be lost for the season.

"If Padilla says he stills feels discomfort the next time he throws, it has to be a concern," said Bowa. "Than it might be more serious, especially if that's the same hot spot."

Padilla had been shut down for two weeks after an MRI exam on his right elbow showed a bone bruise on the elbow, where the triceps attaches to the bone.

Should everything go all right, it will still be at least a month before Padilla can see real action, as he has to build up arm strength all over again.

"It's like starting over," said Bowa.

While Abbott is manning Padilla's spot in the rotation, it's not out of the realm of possible that the Phillies would consider acquiring a trade. They have been linked to published reports that have them securing the services of Pittsburgh's Kris Benson.

Ledee to play Sunday: Ricky Ledee hit off a tee on Saturday and said he'll play on Sunday.

"The kid's game," he said, with a laugh.

Ledee, on the disabled list after surgery to correct hemorrhoids, plans to play with his son Ricardo in the team's Father/Children's Game, part of the July 4 festivities.

But Ledee's stint hitting baseballs was the first step toward his return to the active roster. He hopes to graduate to live batting practice within a week.

"I feel better every day," he said.

Realistic: When Eric Milton made his first All-Star Game in 2001, he cried. The left-hander understands how not every player gets to enjoy such an experience.

At 10-2 in his first season in Philadelphia, Milton realizes he's a candidate to go to Houston as a member of the National League squad. He also knows there are plenty more deserving candidates.

"There are a lot of guys out there with better numbers than me," he said. "I've just been pitching on the right day."

Despite 10 wins, Milton's ERA is 4.68, and he's received more than seven runs a game.

Philling in: When told Friday's 16-inning game was the 11th anniversary of the game in which Mitch Williams singled in the winning run at 4:41 a.m., Bowa quipped, "And it was a full moon, too." As for the item that stood out the most for Bowa, "the missed opportunities." ... The Phillies have actually walked 97 times more than their opponents, or more than one additional time per game.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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