Notes: Gordon seeking durability
Veteran reliever not able to go on back-to-back days yet
MILWAUKEE -- Tom Gordon knows his availability issue is a big reason why Phillies manager Charlie Manuel feels he needs 13 pitchers -- a number the club reached before Friday's game -- and the veteran righty is not happy about it.While his right shoulder still dictates how long Gordon needs between appearances, the recovering closer feels that he's making progress toward that no longer being a problem. "That's what I'm hoping for," Gordon said. "As long as we can through this little bump in the road, maybe it's going to turn around, because it's not getting worse. As long as it's not getting any worse, hopefully we're doing enough to get it strong enough to where I can continue to stay there and go back-to-back days." Gordon's health has been a concern since he returned from the disabled list on July 16. He's made six appearances, and only one -- Saturday night against the Brewers, when he gave up a two-run, game-losing home run to Prince Fielder -- came fewer than three days apart. Manuel couldn't use Gordon in a game against the Cubs last week, and it hurt the manager's ability to make moves. In explaining the decision to replace injured catcher Rod Barajas with reliever Clay Condrey, Manuel said, "We're definitely in need of a guy in back or our bullpen. He's a guy who can give us multiple innings and get an out if we need it." Reading between the lines, Manuel said he needs more options from his bullpen. Before Saturday, Gordon got himself in and out of trouble on Thursday with an eventful eighth inning against the Cubs. He said he felt better about that outing because he felt confident in throwing his breaking balls when he was behind in the count, something he wasn't able to do early in the season, when he relied mostly on fastballs. "When I got behind a hitter [in April], I couldn't finish him because I didn't have a pitch," Gordon said. "Now I have my pitches coming back, so now it's just fine tuning and getting over that sore achy feeling two days later. It's coming. "The second day after pitching is the one that's been giving me the most trouble. I'm just hoping that everything is starting to work well, so I can get myself into a good groove and not worry about it so much." Which, in turn, will make Manuel not worry about it so much. Outfielders getting there: Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn are getting there. Victorino hit for the second straight day, and he worked on the StairMaster and elliptical machine for 10 minutes each, trying to get his right calf muscle ready to go. The next step will be running, something he hopes to do on Monday. "No setbacks yet, but running's a different story," Victorino said. Victorino's hope is that he can go on a Minor League rehab assignment next weekend and be activated on Aug. 15, the first day he'll be eligible. "I have to go [at least 15 days], so I can't rush," he said. "My personal goal is to be back then." As for Bourn, he's not able to do much of anything until the swelling goes down on his ankle. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins has taken to calling Bourn, "Barbaro." Philling in: Righty Francisco Rosario (right shoulder inflammation) will begin a rehab assignment on Monday with Class A Clearwater. He has been out since June 16. Coming up: Adam Eaton, who opposes Milwaukee's Jeff Suppan in Sunday's 2:05 p.m. ET series finale, knows he's been showered with run support -- six runs a game -- which is a large reason for his winning record. His National League-high 5.87 ERA suggests that he's equally generous, and his giving spirit showed against the Cubs his previous outing.
Eaton allowed two runs in the first and two runs in the sixth that cost the Phillies the lead. On the plus side, he hasn't given up a home run his last three outings and he's walked just five over that span. He's 2-0 against the Brewers in five career starts, with a 4.20 ERA.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.