Myers feeling good after playoff outing
Manuel concerned about Phils righty reliever's durability
DENVER -- Brett Myers began this season as the Opening Day starter for the defending World Series champion Phillies. The excitement heading into that start was quickly erased by the frustration that has surrounded the right-handed reliever throughout this year.
But Manuel admitted Friday afternoon that he's concerned about the durability and dependability of Myers, who was in line to become the Phillies closer before he strained a muscle in his right shoulder Sept. 11.
"I'm concerned how much that we put Brett out there," Manuel said. "Definitely the more work he gets in there, he'll get more velocity on his fastball. His fastball is not where it usually is. [His] best pitch right now is probably his breaking ball and the cutter he throws."
Facing a 5-3 deficit during Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Thursday afternoon, Manuel gave Myers a chance to test himself against the Rockies. The right-handed reliever hit Troy Tulowitzki with his second pitch and then issued an eight-pitch walk to Ian Stewart.
Following a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk that loaded the bases with one out, Myers ended his outing by getting Clint Barmes to ground into a fielder's choice that helped the Phillies escaped the eighth-inning jam unscathed.
"I felt great," Myers said. "It wasn't the outcome that I wanted, but it was good to get out there and feel that way. I definitely feel closer than I was before."
The uncertainty regarding a number of their relievers led the Phillies to utilize both J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton in relief roles during Game 2. Happ will start Sunday's rescheduled Game 3.
|Gm. 1||PHI 5, COL 1||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 2||COL 5, PHI 4||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 3||PHI 6, COL 5||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 4||PHI 5, COL 4||Wrap||Video|
This what makes his situation even more maddening for Myers, who returned from his hip surgery as a reliever in early September and made four scoreless appearances before incurring the muscle strain. Had he not suffered this injury, there's a chance the Phillies would have used him instead of Ryan Madson to take over the closer role that was vacated because of Brad Lidge's struggles.
While Myers never experienced any discomfort around the black-and-blue region that developed on his shoulder, he certainly felt the frustration of the rust that developed when he was sidelined for the final 18 days of September.
During the three appearances he made within a span of the regular season's final four days, Myers allowed opponents to hit .500 and produce a .556 on-base percentage against him.
Showing the confidence that he had in his abilities, Manuel still opted to place Myers on his postseason roster.
"I like his experience and I felt there was definitely some hitters I would like to put him on because of his experience," Manuel said. "And I kind of have an idea on what he can give you."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.