Phils undecided on Pedro's role on staff
Veteran righty slated to make rehab start Wednesday
PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Charlie Manuel got asked every which way he might shape the rotation once Pedro Martinez joins the Phillies.
J.A. Happ to the bullpen? Jamie Moyer? Martinez?
How about a six-man rotation?
"It's something we'll go over when it's time," Manuel said before Tuesday's game against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park.
It would have made little sense for Philadelphia's manager to spill the beans with Moyer scheduled to pitch Tuesday, Happ scheduled to pitch Wednesday and Martinez scheduled to make a rehab start Wednesday for Double-A Reading.
It is believed Wednesday will be Martinez's final rehab start.
"What kind of message does that send the guy?" Manuel said, when asked how he plans to organize his pitching staff upon Martinez's arrival. "I guess I just rolled off the turnip truck."
But the interest in this situation is legitimate and understandable. Happ has pitched remarkably well as a starter this season. He is 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA overall, and 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts since May 23. He ranks 16th out of 53 National League pitchers in ERA since May 23, which is better than Josh Johnson (3.12 ERA), Ted Lilly (3.75), Randy Wolf (3.98), Moyer (4.00), Johan Santana (4.09), Cole Hamels (4.57), Derek Lowe (4.65) and others entering Tuesday's action.
Despite that, Happ might be headed to the bullpen because Moyer and Martinez are not seen as viable relief options.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said repeatedly the club signed Martinez to be a starter. Pitching coach Rich Dubee has echoed that sentiment.
"I think what's going to weigh into it is what our best options are," Dubee said. "What's going to give us a chance to win another World Series? That's our goal."
Wednesday will be Martinez's third rehab start. And while he has bonuses in his contract based on relief appearances, if the Phillies considered him a reliever, they might be preparing him differently.
"We'll cross that bridge when it comes," said Dubee, asked what happens if they determine Martinez is the team's sixth-best starter. "We haven't gotten there yet."
The entire staff is in flux. The Phils have Brett Myers, J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin on the 15-day disabled list.
Myers, who is recovering from surgery on his right hip, started to jog Tuesday. He will throw a simulated game Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. Durbin, who has a strained muscle in his back, will make a rehab appearance Wednesday with Class A Clearwater. Romero, who has a strained left forearm, will make a rehab appearance Friday.
Condrey, who has a strained left oblique, is progressing slowly. The Phillies are going to make sure he heals completely before they bring him back.
If Myers returns throwing hard, he could become a nice weapon in the bullpen. He also could be an insurance policy should closer Brad Lidge continue to struggle. Lidge is 0-4 with a 7.11 ERA, the highest in baseball among qualifying relievers.
"He's our closer," Manuel said of Lidge. "Showing him confidence, that's how he'll get back on a streak. He's very capable of doing that. He's showed how good he is. I'm very positive. I have all the faith in the world in him. I know exactly what he can do."
Right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, who went 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA in five starts, already has been moved to the bullpen to make room for left-hander Cliff Lee. In 192 career appearances in the Majors, Lopez has made just 26 as a reliever.
Lopez was disappointed to leave the rotation, but he understood.
Lopez struggled in his first relief appearance Tuesday, allowing five hits and two runs in two innings.
"It's tough, but having a former Cy Young winner, it's pretty understandable," Lopez said. "It's too bad he took my spot, but I want to win."
Even with Lopez out of the mix, there are too many starters and not enough spots for them, unless the Phillies would go to a six-man rotation. And what are the chances of that?
"Personally, I think it would be pretty tough," Dubee said. "Organizationally, I don't know."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.