Relievers Durbin, Romero land on DL
Phils recall right-handers Walker, Carpenter to fill spots
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' bullpen suffered a major blow Thursday, when the team placed right-hander Chad Durbin and left-hander J.C. Romero on the 15-day disabled list.
Durbin has a strained right latissimus, and Romero has a strained left forearm. To replace them on the roster, righty Tyler Walker -- who had been sent to the Minors on Tuesday -- had his contract selected from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and Andrew Carpenter was recalled from Lehigh Valley.
"We can stay there, meaning we can hold our own," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "But the guys coming up, they have to pitch in their role and help us. And I think they can."
The Phillies now have only one lefty, Scott Eyre, in their bullpen. They chose not to summon Sergio Escalona -- who has not been throwing well, according to Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee -- or Jack Taschner, who Dubee said is doing only "so-so."
Manuel knew that Romero has been ailing since the weekend in Florida. He recorded the final out of the eighth inning in Sunday's 5-0 win, but tightness prevented him from throwing the ninth. He has not pitched since.
Durbin's injury, however, was a bit more surprising to the coaching staff. Manuel did not know about it until the manager arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday. Dubee expressed displeasure that the 31-year-old right-hander did not inform the team sooner.
"If he's been masking it for a month, then he shouldn't have," Dubee said. "I don't like not being told the truth, no. I like guys being up front. I've been up front with him, whether it's good or bad. So yeah, angry? No. Disappointed, yes.
"It's hard to fault a player that wants to be competitive. ... You understand it, but sometimes you don't appreciate it."
Durbin, who is 1-2 with a 4.62 ERA in 42 appearances this season, said he understands Dubee's frustration.
"It was one of those things where yeah, communication probably wasn't great," Durbin said. "My wife yelled at me, too, for not communicating with her about it. So it wasn't like I was hiding it on purpose. Maybe just a little of the stubbornness of me thinking I could do it on my own."
Durbin told reporters that for about two weeks, he has been feeling pain where his lower lat (a muscle in the back, beneath the shoulder) intersects with his trapezius (which is slightly higher and closer to the spine).
Because his velocity had not been affected, Durbin thought that perhaps mechanics, not the pain, were the cause of his recent control problems.
|"If he's been masking it for a month, then he shouldn't have. I don't like not being told the truth, no. I like guys being up front. I've been up front with him, whether it's good or bad. So yeah, angry? No. Disappointed, yes. It's hard to fault a player that wants to be competitive. ... You understand it, but sometimes you don't appreciate it."|
|-- Rich Dubee, on Chad Durbin|
As he studied video, however, he noticed that he had already altered his mechanics subconsciously because of the injury.
The pain progressed, and Wednesday was the final straw. Just two days removed from tossing three scoreless innings of one-hit ball Monday, Durbin allowed three runs on two hits and three walks without retiring a batter.
"After the game [Wednesday] was, 'If I can't go out after a day's rest and go and get the ball and be pain-free ... if I can't be pain-free, then I'm not going to be able to get guys out,'" Durbin said.
Philadelphia expects to have both pitchers back when their DL stints are over. Durbin will eligible to return Aug. 7; Romero can rejoin the team Aug. 4, because his move is retroactive to Monday.
In fact, Dubee said that Romero might be fully healed even sooner. But the Phillies could not afford to be shorthanded for a week, so they had to place him on the DL to free up roster space.
For Romero, it's another setback in a frustrating season. The 33-year-old has posted a 2.87 ERA in 20 games, but he missed the first 50, suspended for for violating baseball's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
"There's nothing you can do about it," said Romero, who added that the pain is in the inside part of his forearm. "Just when I thought it was over and done with and I was feeling great, this happened. I've got to move on. It's just life."
Carpenter, who was 8-2 with a 2.75 ERA in Triple-A, allowed five runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Nationals on May 16 in his only appearance with the Phillies this season.
He has been a starter for his entire professional career and most of his baseball life, save a brief stretch as Long Beach State's closer during his freshman year. This time in Philadelphia, though, Carpenter will be used in long relief.
The 24-year-old may need a little extra time to warm up, but is otherwise ready for the adjustment.
"I don't really care, as long as I'm up here just trying to help this team win," Carpenter said. "I'm just honored to get back up here, and I'll just keep working hard. ... Whatever they want me to do, I'll do."
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.