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06/13/09 7:32 PM ET

Phillies send down Kendrick

Right-hander optioned due to club's immediate needs

PHILADELPHIA -- Pitching coach Rich Dubee said this move had nothing to do with performance.

But less than 24 hours after Kyle Kendrick allowed three runs in the 13th inning in a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies optioned Kendrick to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. They recalled left-hander Sergio Escalona to take his place.

"We've played three straight extra-inning games," Dubee said before Saturday night's game against the Red Sox. "Whether he pitched poorly or he pitched great, he would have been moved anyways. Because he wasn't going to be used today, and we have guys who have been pitching a ton and we need a fresh arm there."

Kendrick had been starting for Lehigh Valley before the Phillies recalled him to replace Scott Eyre, who had been put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf on Friday.

"For his development, he needs to go back down there and continue to do what he's been doing," Dubee said.

Kendrick left the Phillies' clubhouse before reporters arrived and couldn't be reached for comment.

Dubee said he thinks Kendrick understood the decision.

"The fact is, he wasn't going to be available today," Dubee said.

But what is Kendrick's future in the big leagues? Is he going to be a starter, or could he return as a reliever?

"It's going to be what he determines," Dubee said. "If he doesn't develop a second and a third pitch, then it's tough to be a starter. Down the road, we'll see how far he comes along with it."

Kendrick said Friday he thought he had made strides with his cutter and changeup, which go along with his sinker. Dubee said he didn't see those strides Friday, but said he heard he had been making those strides in Lehigh Valley.

"That's tough," Dubee said. "Different environment. Different game. Different situation. He hasn't been coming into an 11th- or 12th-inning game, tie game, nail-biter the whole way, and have him do things at the Major League level. He's been starting games down there and been able to use all his pitches."

Dubee wants Kendrick to have better command of his sinker, which is his big pitch. Kendrick threw his sinker as high as 93 mph Friday, but that sinker didn't have much action on it. When Kendrick threw it at 89 mph, it had more bite.

"It was a tough situation," Dubee said. "Unfair? What's unfair? Do we pitch a position player or do we pitch Kyle? Anytime a kid gets a chance to pitch in the big leagues, it's good for his experience level. We told him it wasn't based on performance. It was based on our needs right now. We need a fresh arm."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.