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07/10/08 12:42 PM ET

Phillies option Happ to Triple-A

Club impressed with young lefty's effort in two starts

PHILADELPHIA -- J.A. Happ is headed back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies announced on Thursday morning that they had optioned the 25-year-old lefty to the IronPigs and purchased the contract of infielder Mike Cervenak from Triple-A.

Happ started two games for the Phillies in place of their struggling Opening Day starter, Brett Myers, who was sent to Lehigh Valley on July 1. Because of the All-Star break, however, the Phillies won't need a fifth starter again until July 23, when they play the Mets in New York.

It's possible that Happ will be the Phillies' choice to take the mound that day. In the meantime, manager Charlie Manuel said he wanted Happ to start some games for Lehigh Valley, rather than not see any action for the Phils.

"We don't want him sitting 15 days without throwing in any games," Manuel said.

Still, Manuel said he was impressed by Happ's performance. The Phils won each of Happ's two starts, Friday against the Mets and Wednesday against the Cardinals. Facing St. Louis, he allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings.

"I like to think I hopefully did what they asked, as far as keeping the team in the game," Happ said. "That was the goal. I like to go deep into games. [Wednesday] night was a little better."

Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.