As stated in the last post, it wasn’t a question of if Jimmy Rollins was going to be placed on the 15-day D.L with a strained calf. It was when it was going to happen.
The Phillies placed Rollins in the disabled list retroactive to April 13th, making him eligible to on April 30th against, who else, but the Mets. While he is only slated for a two week D.L stint, it has been rumored that this calf injury may take closer to a month to heal, so don’t expect J-Roll to come back until at least the first week in May. In the mean time, utility infielder Juan Castro will start in his place, and the Phillies have already called up Wilson Valdez from Triple-A Lehigh Valley for insurance.
Rollins’s injury just adds to the list of injured Phillies players just two weeks into the season. While Rollins and Jayson Werth have battled the injury bug when it comes to position players, the majority of the damage has been done to the pitching staff. Brad Lidge, Joe Blanton and J.C Romero have all been on the D.L since the start of the season, and it appears that J.A Happ now may miss his next start due to forearm soreness, an injury that bothered him at point of his rookie season last year. If Happ does end up missing his next star, my guess is that the Phillies will go with a four man rotation, or have Andrew Carpenter brought up from Lehigh Valley to fill that void. In terms of the return of the walking wounded, a return for Blanton is nowhere in sight, while Lidge and Romero are each “progressing” when it comes to their respective rehab processes.
I put “progressing” in quotes because it depends what you call progress. While Romero is already up at Lehigh Valley and may be back by the end of the week, Lidge has been inconsistent in his first two rehab appearances, showing a live arm (fastball clocked at 91 mph and a slider in the mid-high 80′s) but also a lack of production (gave up four runs in an innings work last week while rehabbing at Single-A Clearwater). It may be a week or two, but when Lidge is back in a Phillies uniform, he will most likely take the closers spot from Ryan Madson, who is a perfect 3 for 3 in save opportunities.
But that’s a discussion for another day.
Even if Lidge comes back nowhere close to his 2008 form, I still have to say that it will be a boost to the Phillies pitching staff when he joins the active roster. Outside of Happ, Madson, Jose Contreras, Chad Durbin, Cole Hamels of sorts (2-0, 5.06 ERA), and of course Roy Halladay, the pitching has been suspect to say the least. While Nelson Figueroa and Danys Baez have been inconsistent (7.71 ERA for Baez) and Antonio Bastardo has been productive but has had some issues with his control (1 BB per inning), both David Herndon and Kyle Kendrick struggled mightily adjusting to life in the big leagues, and Jamie Moyer has had difficulty regaining his strength after an off-season of surgeries to repair a torn groin. Whether Lidge will succeed or not is another question, but just getting that familiar, veteran face in the bullpen, someone who has saved 41 straight games at one point of his career, will undoubtably send some sort of positive shockwaves through the clubhouse, especially for those who have been struggling.
One last note.
If the Happ injury lingers, and the status of Joe Blanton remains to be unknown, look for the Pedro Martinez rumors to heat up.
Remember, it wasn’t so long ago that Pedro when the Phillies names Martinez the #2 starter for the 2009 World Series.