ATLANTA -- Nelson Figueroa pitched four times in May and went 18 days in between appearances at one point. But he said Charlie Manuel was always upfront with him and Figueroa felt comfortable with his ever-shrinking role.
On Monday, Figueroa walked into the visitors' clubhouse at Turner Field only to learn he had been designated for assignment. The Phillies activated righthander Brad Lidge from the disabled list to take Figueroa's spot.
Figueroa said the demotion caught him off guard but there are no hard feelings.
He was placed on waivers by the Phillies and will know in three days whether anyone has picked him up. In nine games with the Phils, Figueroa was 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA.
"I definitely want to get some work and start pitching again," Figueroa, 36, said.
If he clears waivers, Figueroa said he would have to think hard about accepting an assignment to triple A.
"I do know the situation here, which is good to know from the inside," Figueroa said. "You never know what it's like somewhere else. The grass isn't always greener. I've been a part of that before. I really like this clubhouse and the staff."
But, he added: "I would imagine a guy with my experience and ability that I've done all I had to do ten times over at the triple-A level."
Demoting Figueroa is a sign the Phillies have confidence in young lefthander Antonio Bastardo, who has options left and could have been sent to triple-A Lehigh Valley without being exposed on waivers. In 12 games, Bastardo has a 2.08 ERA. Lefties are 2 for 16 against Bastardo, making him a solid second lefthanded option behind J.C. Romero.
"That's the way we decided to go," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.
WERTH TALKS, SITS
Jayson Werth didn't want to talk to reporters in Florida after his 0 for 4, four-strikeout performance Sunday. On Monday, Manuel gave Werth a day off -- his second in four games.
Before Monday's game against the Braves, Werth said he is not discouraged by his current slump. He does not have a hit in his last 19 at-bats.
"I've been here before," Werth said.
True. Last season, Werth had hitless streaks of 21 at-bats, 15 at-bats and 12 at-bats. He's been streaky before.
"It comes and goes," Werth said. "It was pretty good there for a while."
With Werth out of the lineup, Manuel shuffled things around quite a bit for Monday's matinee.
1. Ross Gload RF
2. Greg Dobbs 3B
3. Chase Utley 2B
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Shane Victorino CF
6. Raul Ibanez LF
7. Carlos Ruiz C
8. Wilson Valdez SS
9. Joe Blanton P