Notes: Garcia out with biceps tightness
Righty departs after one inning, returns to Clearwater for exam
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Freddy Garcia left Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays with tightness in his right biceps, giving the Phillies a need to rethink their decision to put Jon Lieber in the bullpen.Garcia threw 32 of his 85 scheduled pitches in one inning against the Blue Jays at Knology Park. He surrendered three runs on five hits, including a long home run to Troy Glaus. With two outs in the first, five straight Jays smoked balls off Garcia, who appeared to be throwing below the 88-90 mph velocity he had shown in his early outings. "He wasn't throwing a whole lot up there," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I figured something might be wrong. I'll have to see what the problem is and know how long [he's going to be out]." Garcia left the field with Triple-A Ottawa trainer Shawn Fcasni and didn't return for the second inning. Garcia returned to Clearwater to be examined by head trainer Scott Sheridan. The Phillies don't expect an update until Thursday morning. Acquired at the Winter Meetings for Minor League starters Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez, Garcia was expected to be a key cog in the Phillies' rotation. The likely No. 3 starter has pitched at least 200 innings in seven of his eight Major League seasons. The velocity concerns were present last season with the White Sox and throughout Spring Training. Garcia topped out at 88 mph in compiling an 11.42 ERA in three Grapefruit League outings. If Garcia misses significant time, it would deal a blow to Philadelphia's playoff aspirations and make Lieber untradeable, lessening their chances of landing an established setup reliever. It would, however, increase the likelihood of dealing center fielder Aaron Rowand to accomplish this goal. Ruiz also down: Not to be overshadowed by Garcia's injury, catcher Carlos Ruiz was a late scratch on Wednesday night with a sore right shoulder. That injury also concerns Manuel. "Ruiz is a concern, because he's had that problem before," Manuel said, referring to Ruiz's 2005 season for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In that season, Ruiz appeared in 100 games, though only 56 were at catcher. Soreness in his right shoulder forced him to make 32 starts at designated hitter and two at first base.
If Ruiz goes down, the possibility increases for Jayson Werth to see some time behind the plate. Werth was drafted in 1997 as a catcher. Chris Coste might also become more valuable behind the plate, though he's still recovering from a tender right hamstring.On that front, Coste said he hopes to test the hamstring in the next "two or three" days. If all goes well, he could play in a game this weekend. While he hasn't played in a game since Friday, Coste said he's done all other baseball activities except run. To get mentally ready, Coste said, "The first thing I do is pop in the 2006 highlight tape to help the brain release some good endorphins. That will help me heal faster." Once Coste can play, he'll head to the Minor League complex for extra at-bats. In 18 Grapefruit League at-bats this spring, he's hitting .278. A formality? All that's left is the official announcement. Instead of facing the Braves at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater on Friday, righty Brett Myers will see Toronto's top Minor League team at the Carpenter Complex. The Phillies don't see a reason to start Myers against a team he faces so early in the regular season. Like Opening Day, to be exact. Unless something drastic happens, Myers would make his final Grapefruit League start on March 28 against the Devil Rays, then be in line to start the opener on April 2 at Citizens Bank Park against the Braves. It would be the righty's first career Opening Day assignment. Quotable: "Today is another day around the block. You have to roll with the punches, son, and not get hit." -- Manuel, on Wednesday's injuries Philling in: Closer Tom Gordon had an adventurous eighth inning, allowing two walks and hitting a batter in a scoreless inning. He said he felt fine and is scheduled to throw again on Friday. ... Voting for the Phillies Wall of Fame ends Friday at 12:01 p.m. ET. John Vukovich, who passed away on March 8, is one of 15 Phillies alumni on the ballot. The top five vote-getters are then presented to a special Phillies Wall of Fame Selection Committee, which selects the 2007 inductee. ... Lefty Fabio Castro, vying for a spot in the bullpen, allowed three runs on three hits in three innings, with two walks and a homer. Up next: Jamie Moyer is still baffling hitters at age 44, and will face the Red Sox on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET at Bright House Networks Field. He has a 2.51 spring ERA and hasn't allowed an earned run in his previous three outings. Lieber, moved to the bullpen on Wednesday, is scheduled to make his relief debut for the Phillies.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.