LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Phillies made three roster moves on Sunday, and one of them narrowed the competition for the final two bench jobs.
The Phillies reassigned second baseman Josh Barfield and catchers Dane Sardinha and Tuffy Gosewisch to Minor League camp. Barfield had been competing for a bench job with Luis Castillo, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez and Delwyn Young. Wilson Valdez, who could be the Opening Day second baseman, is a lock to make the team.
Barfield hit .271 (13 for 48) with three doubles, one triple and five RBIs in 21 spring games.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that Barfield played well this spring, but "we just felt the other guys in camp are going to be able to give us more versatility. He didn't do anything to hurt himself. We'll consider him if there is a breakdown at the Major League level."
Amaro said that Barfield will play second base for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, although he will play elsewhere on occasion.
Lidge to have MRI exam on Tuesday
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Phillies closer Brad Lidge will have an MRI exam Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that then they will know if Lidge, who visited team physician Michael Ciccotti on Friday, has structural damage in his right shoulder.
"He was actually better in his exam than he was a couple of days ago," Amaro said. "He still has some posterior soreness in his shoulder and will have an MRI Tuesday in Philadelphia. That's where we have a baseline on previous exams Brad has had and we can compare things. We'll go from there. We don't have a diagnosis until we know what the MRI looks like. We'll treat it from there."
Lidge had been sidelined for two weeks this month because of biceps tendinitis in his right arm. He pitched in a Minor League game on Tuesday and a Grapefruit League game Thursday. He said Friday that he has pain in the back of his right shoulder, which is troubling.
Lidge said Friday that he thinks he could return by mid-April, but that remains to be seen.
Halladay tops off brilliant spring run
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Roy Halladay looks ready and said he feels ready.
His next start counts for real.
Halladay allowed two hits and struck out three in three scoreless innings Sunday in a 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. He went 4-0 with a 0.42 ERA in five Grapefruit League starts. In 21 2/3 innings, he allowed 14 hits, one run and six walks. He struck out 16.
He opens the Phillies' season Friday against the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.
"I'm happy where everything is right now," he said. "I'm definitely anxious to get going."
Halladay also went 1-for-2 on Saturday at the plate. He went 2-for-5 this spring.
"I'm not hitting him third," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel joked. "We need more than that."
Martinez likely to make Opening Day roster
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Phillies have two bench jobs available, and it sounds like Michael Martinez has the inside track on one of them.
The Phillies narrowed the competition Sunday when they reassigned second baseman Josh Barfield to Minor League camp. The Phillies plan to carry 13 position players, and 11 of those spots have been locked up: catchers Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider; infielders Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Wilson Valdez; and outfielders Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Ben Francisco, Ross Gload and John Mayberry Jr.
Chase Utley will open the season on the disabled list.
That leaves Luis Castillo, Pete Orr, Delwyn Young and Martinez competing for two jobs.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had high praise for Martinez on Saturday. Martinez, who is a career .263 hitter in the Minor Leagues, has hit just .246 (17 for 69) with three doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs in 29 games this spring. But he has played stellar defense in the infield and outfield, which plays big for a bench player in the National League.
Asked if he could help the Phillies right now, Manuel paused for a couple seconds.
"Yeah," he said. "If he plays defense in the big leagues like he has here he won't have any trouble playing. He made some plays [at shortstop Saturday in Lakeland against the Detroit Tigers] -- he made three or four plays and a couple of them were off the charts. One might have been the best play I've ever seen."
Another thing working in Martinez's favor? He is a Rule 5 Draft pick. He must open the season on the 25-man roster or the Phillies risk losing him to the Washington Nationals. The Phillies can reassign Orr and Young to Minor League camp without losing them because they signed Minor League contracts. The Phillies said they will release Castillo if he does not make the Opening Day roster.
The Phillies could open the season with Martinez to give him a look and maintain their organizational depth. If he plays well they can keep him. If he struggles and the Phillies believe they need more help, they can always call up Orr or Young or Barfield at a later date.
Castillo, who signed a Minor League contract on Monday, went 0 for 8 in his first two games with the Phillies before reaching base in six of his nine plate appearances in his third and fourth games. He went 0-for-3 with a run scored Sunday in a 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium.
"We've got three more games to make some kind of decision on him," Manuel said.
The Phillies play their Grapefruit League finale Monday at Bright House Field in Clearwater before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates in exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.
"He hasn't played very much," Manuel said of Castillo. "He was off about 10 days or something over there [with the New York Mets]. Those are things we might have to take into consideration, too."
Young has hit .276 (16 for 58) with two doubles, one triple and eight RBIs in 29 games, but is limited defensively.
"He's still in that mix," Manuel said. "I look at him more as a bat and an outfielder."
Orr has hit .275 (14 for 51) with three doubles, four triples and two RBIs in 24 games. He has played all over the field this spring.
Manuel cautioned that just because Martinez has played well in the Grapefruit League, that doesn't guarantee success in the National League.
"Spring Training is different than the Major Leagues," he said. "Spring Training is a hell of a lot different. Big time different. A thousand-to-one different. Ten thousand-to-one different."
But with the defense and versatility he brings, and knowing that they could lose him if he isn't on the Opening Day roster, it sounds like the Phillies might want to see him in the big leagues to see if he can handle himself.
Polanco goes 0-for-2 in second game back
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco went 0-for-2 with a walk on Sunday in a 6-1 victory over Atlanta at Champion Stadium.
It was Polanco's second game since missing nearly two weeks because of a hyperextended left elbow. Polanco left the clubhouse before reporters had a chance to speak with him, but Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said that Polanco felt fine. Polanco said that after playing on Friday he still felt some soreness in the elbow.
"He's OK," Manuel said. "He says he is. He's not hurting, he said."
Manuel said Polanco will play in the Grapefruit League finale Monday afternoon against the Houston Astros at Bright House Field. Polanco has hit just .171 (7 for 41) this spring, but Manuel said he isn't concerned.
"He can hit," he said.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.