PHILADELPHIA -- Ruben Amaro Jr. keeps trading familiar faces. And he continues to say that this shouldn't be taken as a signal that the Phillies have given up on the season, even though they started play Friday night in last place in the National League East and 11 games under .500.
"I remain optimistic that we can get back in this," Amaro said after announcing that right-hander Joe Blanton had been sent to the Dodgers in a waiver trade. "It's a daunting task, as I've said before. It will be difficult. We still have a lot of talent on our club. We'll see how it goes.
"We're still in a position that we're not mathematically eliminated or anything like that. And this club still has a lot of talent. So we'll see how they play. I think this stuff about us auditioning players is a little overblown. We're just going to put guys out there, give them a chance and see what they can do."
Starting outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence were dealt before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Lee 'not going anywhere' according to Amaro
PHILADELPHIA -- When word leaked out earlier this week that the Phillies had placed left-hander Cliff Lee on waivers, it created quite a stir. And never mind that it's standard procedure for every team to try to get just-in-case waivers on all their players immediately after the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The subject came up again Friday amid a report from CBSSports.com that the Dodgers had claimed Lee.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. declined to confirm or deny the validity of the story, but added: "It's irrelevant. He's not going anywhere."
Anything is possible this offseason, of course, but the most likely scenario remains that the Phillies want to keep the Big Three at the top of their rotation -- Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Lee -- together moving forward into 2013.
Lee is 2-6 with a 3.63 ERA this season, but manager Charlie Manuel said he stills sees the left-hander as an elite pitcher.
"He's still got it. It's still there," Manuel said. "It's just a matter of him getting it going consistently again. He hasn't lost anything. It's just that things haven't gone good for him this year, and at times, he's kind of made it tough on himself. He's had a rough year, but his talent is still there."
Beginning Friday, the Phillies entered a portion of the schedule during which they're scheduled to play 19 of 25 games at Citizens Bank Park. The only problem is that they're 21-30 at home.
"I don't know why," Manuel said. "It seems like we just haven't been able to put together a good consistent streak at home. We've been outplayed here. This would be a good time for us to start playing better."
The Phillies' bullpen hadn't allowed a run in 15 straight innings before Jason Kubel's homer in the ninth against Josh Lindblom.
Shane Watson, the Phillies' No. 1 Draft choice in June, made his professional debut for the Gulf Coast League Phillies on Friday. He started and pitched one inning against the GCL Tigers. He struck out one and didn't allow a hit.
Catcher Tommy Joseph, acquired from the Giants in the Hunter Pence trade, is 4-for-10 in his first three games for Double-A Reading. And Ethan Martin, who came from Los Angeles in the Shane Victorino trade, won his first start for Reading on Friday. He gave up one run on four hits in six innings against Binghamton, striking out six.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.