May 152011

The Phillies could practically field a team with the  number of guys they have on the mend, and with Shane Victorino pulling up lame last night with a pulled hamstring the All-Injured squad is growing.  The good news is that despite all the injuries, the Phils are still the best team in baseball.  The even better news is that some of them will actually be playing some real ball here soon.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has provided some updates, per beat writer Matt Gelb.

Victorino has a sore hamstring but won’t need to go on the disabled list.  Vic expounded profusely regarding the hammy’s status.

“It’s better,” he said.

Victorino expects to be ready for the next homestand on Wednesday, so while he won’t be on the DL he’ll miss at least three games.

Reliever/closer Jose Contreras has been recovering from an elbow injury, and now he has been given the go ahead to start a rehab assignment on Wednesday at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  The biggest question obviously is whether he will regain the closer’s job upon his return. 

“That’s a good question,” Amaro said. “I’m not sure how things will go. Charlie will probably go with the guy he feels can do the job that day. That may end up being guys mixing and matching. We may have to wait and see if Contreras is effective enough to drop back into that closer’s role. That’s a good problem to have if they’re both pitching well. I’d rather have it go that way.”

With Ryan Madson pitching well right now, it makes sense to ease the veteran Contreras back into his late inning setup role.

Ace Roy Oswalt, of the Philadelphia-based Four Aces, threw in the bullpen at Clearwater Saturday and is planning on starting Tuesday in St. Louis.  Amaro isn’t concerned with Oswalt’s diminished stuff as the righty recovers from back issues.

“Typically I think there would be [concern], but for a guy like that I think adrenaline means a lot,” Amaro said. “No disrespect to the Florida State League, but I just don’t know if there’s the same juice that you have. But at the same time we’ll have to monitor him. If he doesn’t have the same velocity and you need to continue to show that on the mound with us, then I’ll have to keep my eye on it. But he doesn’t have anything physically wrong with him. He feels fine.”

When Oswalt returns, it’s unknown who will be sent packing, with the likely candidate being youngster Vance Worley, who will be better off starting in the minors than throwing relief innings in the majors.

Chase Utley is scheduled to play a full game at Single-A Clearwater today.  Amaro indicated that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will closely monitor Utley’s playing time when the second baseman finally comes back.

Domonic Brown, still rehabbing a broken bone in his wrist, recently suffered a sprained UCL in his right thumb, so his recovery has slowed a bit.  He isn’t swinging the bat right now while resting the thumb, and Amaro said that if it continues to be a problem after a couple days the team will pursue an MRI to further investigate the injury.

Catcher Brian Schneider really screwed up his hamstring, which isn’t that big a surprise when a guy is neither young nor in that great of shape.  It’s been diagnosed as a Grade-2 strain and he should miss at least a month.

“He got it pretty good,” Amaro said.

Finally, closer Brad Lidge continues to rehab his torn rotator cuff, with him possibly starting to throw off a mound on Wednesday.  While he’s still likely at least another couple months away, that’s a great sign on Lidge’s long road to recovery.

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