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03/22/08 5:12 PM ET
Rosario out of running for 'pen role
Righty among three hurlers put on DL; Benson plays catch
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies reliever Francisco Rosario was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder strain on Saturday, eliminating him from the competition for two available bullpen jobs. Rosario went 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances, including one start. He hasn't thrown in a game since March 14. This spring, he allowed seven runs in 10 2/3 innings, walking five and striking out eight. Lefty Michael Zagurski and righty Scott Mathieson were also placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday, retroactive to Friday, though those moves were procedural. Zagurski (torn right hamstring) and Mathieson (Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery) finished last season on the 60-day DL, and had to be reinstated before Spring Training. Both have thrown off a mound this spring, but neither has appeared in a game. "We need to get them well," assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. That trio was not joined by right-hander Kris Benson, who played catch for the second straight day -- this time with pitching coach Rich Dubee -- after four days of inactivity. Benson will do it again on Sunday and be re-evaluated. "There's no new news," Amaro said. "He's progressing. He's better than he was the past few days. This is normal as far as guys coming off major surgery." Benson, who is one year and two days removed from rotator cuff surgery, was scratched from a March 18 start with biceps tendinitis and didn't throw for four days. He hoped to take his next turn, scheduled for Sunday, but that won't happen, either. The Phillies can afford to be cautious. "There are no concerns structurally for what he had repaired," athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said. "Obviously, you don't like the fact that he had a bump in the road at this time, but it's one of those normal things that happen in a rehab; they never go completely from A to B without a bump in the road somewhere." Getting Benson to the point he was at before his setback means that he likely won't be in a position to help the Phillies until May at the earliest. "[Sunday] will tell us more," Dubee said. "He'll play catch again. As he progresses, we'll decide when he throws off the mound. I wouldn't say May is out of the question. It's going to be a day-by-day, week-by-week process with this stuff." Also looming is a Tuesday deadline, the last day Benson can opt out of his Minor League deal he signed in February. Much of Benson's decision rests on whether he's added to the 40-man roster. Amaro wouldn't comment on the deadline, and Benson was unavailable. In other news, the Phillies re-assigned infielder Casey Smith to Minor League camp. He batted .333 (8-for-24) with two doubles and two homers in 14 Grapefruit League games.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.