The past few years, the Phillies have been relatively honest about their intentions in the trade market. In 2008, it was well known that they were looking to add a starting pitcher, a left-handed reliever and a bench bat, and they accomplished all three in landing Joe Blanton, Scott Eyre and Matt Stairs. Last season, they weren't shy about pursuing an ace, and that's what they landed in Cliff Lee.
So when Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday not to expect a major move to wake up the Phillies slumbering offense, you didn't get the feeling that he was being coy.
Domonic Brown will stay in the minors. Raul Ibanez will stay in the line-up. And so on.
"We're not making any major moves," Amaro said. "This is our team out here. They'll be fine. Get the guys healthy, we'll be fine."
Amaro said that the team is always looking to add more pitching, although a return by Pedro Martinez is highly unlikely. But he is happy with the way his bench has played. He thinks Ibanez is simply trying to "get his legs under him" after two offseason abdominal surgeries. He said he is "a little puzzled" about Chase Utley's slump, but he gave the second baseman and the rest of the line-up a huge vote of confidence.
"I think these guys are very good hitters. They are very good offensive players," Amaro said. "They are struggling, some of them, and for us to have success, they're just going to have to play better. And they will."
Other tidbits from a busy pre-game:
1) Chase Utley will bat second tonight, in front of normal two-hitter Placido Polanco. The goal is to break up lefties Utley and Ryan Howard against C.C. Sabathia.
2) J.A. Happ threw a 40-pitch bullpen session, something he said was an important step, because he did not feel anything other than his normal post-start soreness (Happ threw 57 pitches for Double-A Reading). Both Happ and the Phillies sound confident that he will be back in their rotation. Happ thinks it could be soon. He is scheduled to throw another outing on Friday, likely at Reading.
3) Jimmy Rollins will play five innings tonight. He could return this weekend, although Amaro said such a timetable was probably a little "aggressive."