ATLANTA -- Roy Halladay hasn't been himself this season and Cliff Lee's season has been a combination of bad luck and bad stretches.
But Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is certain his rotation will rebound.
It better. The Phillies have $64.5 million committed in salary next season to Halladay ($20 million), Lee ($25 million) and Cole Hamels ($19.5 million).
"I'm confident this time next year and toward the end of this year, we're not going to have the same level of performance or results that we've had out of those two guys," Amaro said of Halladay and Lee. "It will be better. They are better than that. They're better than -- what is it, five wins? -- they're better than that. That I am confident in. Very confident."
So he thinks Halladay's struggles are nothing more than rust?
"We still have to monitor how he is going to progress, but he has only pitched twice, he didn't have a real extended rehab process and we got him on the mound pretty quickly," Amaro said.
Said Charlie Manuel: "We got to get pitching. We talk about our bullpen, but starting pitching, we have to be a little bit better. We have to be better with our starting pitching. Our rotation has to be better and consistent."
Buyers or sellers? Weekend series key for Philly
ATLANTA -- Ruben Amaro Jr. entered the visitor's clubhouse at Turner Field on Friday afternoon with three of his top lieutenants in tow.
Yes, the Phillies have some irons in the fire with the Trade Deadline just four days away.
But will they pull the trigger? There is another report every minute with Cliff Lee suddenly out of the picture, but Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Juan Pierre and others very much in it. Of course, it seemed just a couple weeks ago nobody thought Cole Hamels would sign a contract extension with the Phillies, but he did.
Things change quickly.
"We've talked to a lot of teams in the last couple of weeks about a lot of things," Amaro said. "Even the last few days, but that's standard operating procedure."
Amaro said Wednesday he planned to keep his starting rotation together, which is noteworthy because Lee has been mentioned as a trade candidate. Amaro reiterated those words Friday, although he kept the door open.
"That is what the plan is right now," he said, when asked about keeping Roy Halladay, Lee and Hamels together. "Plans can change, but that's what the plan is right now. ... I'd like you guys to find pitchers better than the ones I have in my rotation right now anywhere. Good luck finding them. Where are you going to get them? Where do you get them?"
Of course, Amaro's plans could change if a team makes him a proposal he can't refuse. Asked if he can trade a starting pitcher or everyday player and still improve the team this season, Amaro said, "If I was a good GM I could." But there is the school of thought that by trading somebody like Lee or Pence, while they could receive a nice package of prospects in return, they also would be creating additional holes on the roster to fill in the offseason.
"I don't think that we're going to do anything before July 31 to fill all the holes that we might have in 2013," Amaro said. "That's not going to happen. We've got plenty of time to try to work through that."
This is a big weekend for the Phillies. They have won eight of their last 11 games, but if they lose two of three or get swept by the Braves, they might be pushed into seller's mode.
The alternative is true if they take two of three or sweep the series.
"These three games are important, yeah," Amaro said. "How determinant they are about how we go about our business from here on in, I don't know yet. Again, it's kind of a fluid situation. If we get swept here, it's going to make things very daunting for us. We take two out of three, that's good. We happen to sweep them, even better."
Phils not expecting lengthy DL stay for Polanco
ATLANTA -- Placido Polanco's back injury is similar to the one that forced him to spend 25 days on the disabled list last season.
The Phillies, however, are optimistic he will not need that much time on the DL this year.
"I think he's getting an epidural today, if he didn't get it already," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Friday. "By the time he's supposed to come off we think he should be fairly close. We don't think it's a long-term thing. We'll see."
The Phillies selected infielder Kevin Frandsen's contract from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Polanco's place on the roster.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.