© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
06/30/07 8:50 PM ET
Notes: Geary optioned to Triple-A
Phillies hoping reliever can work out his flaws in Ottawa
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Geoff Geary knew his performance had been lacking, but he didn't see this one coming -- which explains the humbled and pained look on his face. With a roster move needed to activate Saturday's starter J.A. Happ, the Phillies optioned Geary to Triple-A Ottawa and decided to keep J.D. Durbin in the bullpen, as they sort out who, Durbin or Happ, will remain in the starting rotation. "It didn't [cross my mind], and it's so wrong for me to think that way," Geary said. "But I guess in the past, I was always on top of stuff. But this year, I let my guard down. The grim reaper got me." While Geary's one Minor League option made him easier to send out -- rather than risk losing a live arm such as Durbin -- general manager Pat Gillick said the move was largely based on performance. "He needs to get straightened out to where he was," Gillick said. "There's nothing wrong with him physically. He just has to work out a few mechanical problems, and we think he's better served working them out in Ottawa. We're not in a position where we can allow people to work their problems out in games." Geary started the season strong, posting a 1.50 ERA in his first 17 games, and he was manager Charlie Manuel's most reliable arm in jams. Since May 11, the right-hander posted an 8.57 ERA in 20 games, allowing 44 baserunners in 21 innings and giving up six home runs. After a forgettable night in Cleveland on June 18, Geary shaved his goatee and cut his hair, hoping that might change his fortunes. He logged three scoreless appearances after that, but he allowed five runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 frames, spanning his final two appearances. That brought him to Saturday's decision. "There's no reason to blame anybody but myself," Geary said. "Maybe going down will kind of switch up my mindset. It's a little bit of everything. "It's how baseball is. I don't have anything really to say about it. I'm going to go down there, and I'll see you guys soon." Move No. 2: In essence, Geary was sent down for righty Anderson Garcia when the team optioned Happ to Triple-A Ottawa after the game and replaced him with Garcia. Garcia, 26, pitched with Double-A Reading and Ottawa this season, compiling a combined 3.09 ERA and limiting opponents to a .216 average. Happ allowed five runs in four-plus innings, three of which came on two first-inning home runs by Paul Lo Duca and David Wright. Because the Phillies don't need a fifth starter until July 17, Happ was sent to the Minors, and the team will go with Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Adam Eaton and Kyle Kendrick until then. Durbin, who got hit hard in the first game of Friday's doubleheader, survived and will pitch out of the bullpen. "That's fine," Durbin said. "I'll pitch wherever they need me." For Happ, 24, he'll just wait for his next opportunity. "I've been working for years to try to get here, and I was just excited to get the chance," Happ said. No time for All-Star thoughts: Aaron Rowand will be on the West Coast for the All-Star break. He'll either relax at his new Las Vegas home with his wife and two children -- maybe play a few rounds of golf -- or participate in the All-Star Game in San Francisco on July 10. Either option works for the outfielder. "It's a great honor being named to an All-Star team, and it would be awesome if it happened, but I'm not banking on it," Rowand said. "I've already got my plans made." Though his name never appeared among the National League's leading vote-getters, Rowand is having an All-Star-worthy season, batting .313 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs as the team's everyday center fielder, and he could eclipse his career season of 2004. And if that's enough to get him selected by NL manager Tony La Russa, so be it. "I voted for him," Chris Coste said. Romero is spotless: Quietly, J.C. Romero has turned in two consecutive scoreless appearances, his first two as a Phillie. In the nightcap of Friday's doubleheader, Romero tossed a scoreless eighth inning in the Phillies' 5-2 loss, but he had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam that he created. He had an easier time on Saturday, entering with two outs in the seventh and striking out Carlos Delgado. "[Putting on baserunners] is something I want to stay away from," Romero said. "But in my career, I've always been effectively wild. That's the way it's always been." Romero's penchant for putting on baserunners led to his release from the Red Sox, and the Phillies gave him a shot. He's grateful for the second opportunity. "It wasn't that I wasn't doing my job [with Boston]," Romero said. "I thought I was, and they made a business decision. It's just a chapter in a career and happens to a lot of guys. This is the first time it happened to me, and hopefully it won't happen again. I have to move on. I'll look at the positive. This is a new league and a new experience." Quotable: "I got here in time for photo day and Tim McGraw. Pretty sweet." -- Coste on the timing of his most recent callup. The Phillies took a team photo before Saturday's game, and Coste planned on going to McGraw's concert after the game Philling in: Two sons of Philadelphia icons took part in pregame festivities. Kane Kalas, son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas, sang the national anthem, while his father was in Cooperstown, N.Y., to take part in the National Hall of Fame Museum's "Voices of the Game" series. ... Country music superstar McGraw, who made a name for himself outside of being Tug's son, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. McGraw is scheduled to perform at the Wachovia Center on Saturday night. Coming up: After getting a no-decision in his Major League debut, Kendrick won his next two outings, the last one coming against the Reds on Tuesday. He allowed four runs over six innings, but he got plenty of run support in an 11-4 win. The Phillies have scored 28 runs in Kendrick's three starts, and they've won all three games. He'll face the Mets' Oliver Perez in the series finale on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.