08/31/11 10:43 AM ET
Phillies bolster bench with trade for Bowker
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
They acquired left-handed-hitting outfielder John Bowker from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named or cash considerations. To make room for Bowker on the 25-man roster, the Phillies optioned right-hander Michael Schwimer to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. They placed Jose Contreras on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Bowker on the 40-man roster.
Bowker is expected to be in uniform for Wednesday night's game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. He will wear No. 16
The Phillies had been looking for a left-handed bat for some time, especially with Ross Gload nursing a hip injury. They had hoped to land Jim Thome, but he recently went to the Cleveland Indians. Bowker, 28, played just 19 games for Pittsburgh this season, hitting .235 with two RBIs, but he batted .306 with 15 homers and 76 RBIs in 421 at-bats with Triple-A Indianapolis.
He has played first base, left field and right field in parts of four big league seasons with San Francisco and Pittsburgh. He is a .301 career hitter (22-for-73) as a pinch-hitter.
Back in Phillies' lineup, Ibanez feels good
CINCINNATI -- Raul Ibanez said he feels great and joked he is ready to steal 40 bases before the end of the season.
He returned to the Phillies' lineup Tuesday against the Reds at Great American Ball Park, and went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. It was the first time he had started since Aug. 21 in Washington because of a sore left groin.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been playing John Mayberry Jr. lately, and he has responded. Mayberry has hit .310 (27-for-87) with eight doubles, seven home runs and 26 RBIs in his last 30 games. He has hit .474 (9-for-19) with runners in scoring position in that stretch.
It sounds like Manuel could play the hot hand the remainder of the season.
"If you want to play, you hit," Manuel said. "You sign guys to big contracts and everything and they're going to play, but if they don't hit sooner or later they won't play. ... If a guy is hitting good enough, he has to stay in the lineup."
Ibanez is hitting .242 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs this season.
"It makes that left field a bit more binding, doesn't it?" Manuel said after the game. "[Ibanez] had a good short swing. Really. Even his outs, he hit the ball pretty good. That's what we want to see. We want to hit. The more we hit, the better our team is going to be."
Blanton has eye on contributing from bullpen
CINCINNATI -- Joe Blanton appeared on the April 4 cover of Sports Illustrated with the rest of the Phillies' rotation, trumpeting arguably one of the best assembled in baseball history.
That might have been the highlight of Blanton's season. He made just six starts because of an elbow injury, and if he pitches again for the Phillies this season, he will be pitching out of the bullpen. He threw a bullpen session before Tuesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park and could throw another one Friday. It is unclear what happens after that, but if things keep going in a positive direction, he could be pitching for the Phillies soon.
"I felt really good throwing today," he said. "I'm really excited about the way I feel, for sure."
Blanton's chances of rejoining the rotation ended several weeks ago, so he is fine pitching out of the bullpen.
"Whatever I'm able to do," he said. "If I'm healthy, hopefully I'll be able to do whatever. Obviously the innings would be limited, because I haven't had time to build them up, but after I got a couple innings in, it could turn into a long [man] deal or two or three innings or back-to-back days. Hopefully I can save some of those guys some innings, those guys that have been throwing all year."
If Blanton were healthy the entire season, he would be a lock to make the postseason roster, but his postseason future is cloudy at best. He seems to recognize that.
"That would be great to come out in the last month and throw really good out of the 'pen and contribute in the postseason," he said. "But at the same, realistically, I haven't thrown all year."
Reds skipper Baker praises Phillies' work ethic
CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Dusty Baker made an interesting observation about the Phillies on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.
In a conversation about Roy Halladay, Baker said, "I can see him over there watching. I study the other team's dugout, who is paying attention, and I see guys like him and [Chris] Carpenter really, really paying attention. I see guys like [Chase] Utley, he sits by the bat rack and he studies. You see other guys with their heads down or messing around. You could see the no-nonsense guys that pay attention. They've got a couple of them over there. I saw [Cliff] Lee, he was paying strict attention.
"That's why I like my sunglasses. They can't tell where I'm looking."
Baker continued: "They're a professional organization and team. They've got some veterans that have been around for a while. They are where everybody wants to get to with an extended run of success. That's where we are trying to get to."
Jimmy Rollins took batting practice Tuesday and continues to rehab his strained right groin that put him on the disabled list. He can be activated Sept. 6.
There are three position players in the Phillies' farm system headed to the Arizona Fall League: Tyson Gillies (OF), Cody Overbeck (INF) and Darin Ruf (INF). There also are four pitchers headed to the AFL: Tyler Cloyd (RHP), Jacob Diekman (LHP), B.J. Rosenberg (RHP) and Colby Shreve (RHP).
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.